ORLANDO, Fla. – Hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June 1, but the National Hurricane Center on Sunday started tracking the first tropical wave of 2022.
The NHC reported Monday morning that the tropical wave emerged off the coast of Africa and was moving west at about 17 mph.
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“Tropical wave guidance has it moving west over the next 24-48 hours, passing well to the south of the Cabo Verde Islands,” the NHC said.
“This wave is a long ways away. There are many factors that could kill it or steer it away from the U.S. altogether. It’s interesting because it is the first ‘wave’ that the National Hurricane Center is watching,” News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said.
Although hurricane season is weeks away, storms can form beforehand, including Tropical Storm Ana last year and Arthur and Bertha in 2020.
The first named storm of the 2022 season will be called Alex.
May 8: The first #tropicalwave of the season is analyzed on the 0600 UTC surface map. It is located near the west coast of Africa along 14W. pic.twitter.com/qHVS7VztW0— NHC_TAFB (@NHC_TAFB) May 8, 2022
Forecasters are calling for another above-average Atlantic hurricane season, a trend we have seen over the last four decades. Their numbers show 19 named storms, with nine of them becoming hurricanes and four gaining major hurricane strength.
This runs well above the average of 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes and three major storms.
Factoring in a weaker La Niña pattern and warmer than average water temperatures, scientists at Colorado State anticipate “an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”
But it is Florida where the lead is taken for chances of landfalling storms this season.
The forecast calls for a 96% chance of a named storm impacting Florida, a 75% chance for a hurricane (category 1-2) and a 44% chance for a major hurricane near or making landfall in Florida.