ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida has been spared of any significant hurricane in the last few years but while it’s been this way for the last several hurricane seasons, Floridians should not anticipate a similar season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an “above normal” season and forecasting 14-21 named storms in 2022. Of those, six to 10 could be hurricanes, including three to six possible major hurricanes, meaning category 3 or higher.
It’s important to prepare for the worst ahead of each hurricane season and to not compare seasons or compare storms, National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
“Little wiggles matter. Twenty miles would change the storm surge in some locations by 10-15 feet. Those little wiggles matter so much. Just because it didn’t happen last time, doesn’t mean it won’t happen next time. That’s why preparedness is everything,” he said.
Florida’s probability of a hurricane impact within 50 miles in 2022 is 75%, while on average it would be 55%. Phil Klotzbach, a tropical weather and climate research scientist at Colorado State University, reiterated Florida is at a higher risk because it has “a ton of coastline.”
“You can get a tremendous amount of damage from a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, even tropical storms,” he said.
[‘Every storm is different:’ Here’s why you should pay attention to more than just a storm’s category]
Jamie Rhome, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, compared hurricanes in Florida to gambling.
“You can have a streak of good luck, but the odds strongly suggest that Florida is hit frequently, every couple of hurricane seasons. So the fact that we’ve been spared so many times in the last few years, it should not give people a sign of peace. It should be, ‘Oh. We’re due,’” Rhome said.
Forecasters with the NOAA said this year is expected to be more active due to the following factors:
- Warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea
- Weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds
- Enhanced west African monsoon
To find out your risk and whether or not you live in an evacuation zone, head to clickorlando.com/hurricane.