What you should know about hurricanes this year | weather

As every year since 2015, the Atlantic Hurricane Basin is forecast to have a more active-than-usual hurricane season, according to Colorado State University.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Wednesday. To ensure property owners have everything they need, the National Hurricane Center announced this season that it has improved forecasting and access to information such as storm surge, hurricane and ocean forecasts, as well as geographic information.

“Preparing ahead of time and understanding your risk are key to hurricane resilience and climate preparedness,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, AccuWeather and the state of Colorado are for a more active than usual tropical season. The state of Colorado is forecasting 19 tropical storms, nine of which will become hurricanes and four of which will be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5). That’s above the 1991-2020 average of 14, seven, and three, respectively.

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In addition to new forecasts for the season, the center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is responsible for all official storm track forecasts and weather warnings, has a number of updates for 2022. The updates include the latest forecast track error cone for tropical systems. A predicted track error is the likely track the storm’s center will take, and improvements to it have increased accuracy for one- to five-day models. This upgrade will provide meteorologists with more accurate information to forecast the storms.

How hurricane forecasts have improved since Sandy

The National Hurricane Center forecast cone is between 15% and 30% smaller between 2012 and 2022.

JOE MARTUCCI, press meteorologist

The biggest improvement occurred on the 36-hour forecast, where the cone will be 6% smaller than last year. As a result, the range of the forecast cone will shrink from 55 nautical miles to 52 nautical miles, narrowing target areas and giving people a better idea of ​​how close they are to the storm. In general, a cone represents the range of possible attack areas. It gets smaller as a storm gets closer to land. Three hours before landing, a cone is 16 miles wide, while five days before hitting land, a cone expands 200 nautical miles.

While a 6% improvement may not seem like much, over the past decade those improvements have shrunk the entire cone by 15% to 30%, leading to better forecasts. For example, if 2012 Superstorm Sandy occurred that year, the models would have been better able to narrow down the target area. 3½ days before touchdown the cone would have focused on a range from Asbury Park to the Virginia portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. Back then, the same prediction showed a landfall range between Montauk, Long Island and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

In addition to the modeling improvements, the hurricane center is improving its news online with more detailed, segmented updates that are easily understood at hurricanes.gov.

Geographic Headlines NHC

You can now easily see what storm disturbances the National Hurricane Center is tracking with geographic indicators in the NHC’s tropical weather forecasts, which can be found at hurricanes.gov.


Another example of better messaging is storm surge forecasts. For near-shore storms, storm surge forecast graphs now color-code the amount of water over the normally dry ground. This will add an additional aesthetic appeal to the experimental graphics that debuted in 2020. So far, the coastlines where storm surges are expected have always been red.

Storm Surge Graphics.png

Previous (left) and new for 2022 (right) storm surge flood charts.


Storm surge warnings or warnings will continue to be posted along with the maps at 5am, 11am, 5pm and 11pm as appropriate.

For sailors going to sea, there will also be more accurate forecasts and new forecast zones in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and much of the Atlantic Ocean south of latitude 31 degrees north, around the Florida-Georgia border.

The center’s tropical analysis and forecasting department had divided this area into 32 zones since 2011. Now those zones are broken down into 52 smaller zones, with the addition of eight new zones in the open waters east of Florida but also south of Bermuda, increasing accuracy.

Ocean Forecast Zones.png

The National Hurricane Center’s new and previous ocean forecast zones. These can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov/marine/offshores.php


Seafarers benefit from a more precise and higher quality forecast. The revised zones also take into account the climate of that area. In adverse conditions, the more specific prediction fields allow for more information tailored to those who need it.

Ask the Weather Guys: What's Hurricane Season Looking Like?

Contact Joe Martucci:


[email protected]

Twitter @acpressmartucci

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