LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Now that our most recent episode of severe weather is over we have some time to focus on the upcoming hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1st and ends November 30th. With the season officially beginning in less than a week the forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center have put together their 2022 hurricane season forecast.

For the 7th year in a row, the forecast is for a busier than normal season. The forecast is above-normal in all categories. The average number of named storms (both tropical storms and hurricanes) is 14 and the forecast is for 13-20. For hurricanes alone, the average is 7 and the forecast is for 6-10. Lastly, the average number of major hurricanes (categories 4 and 5) is 3 and the forecast is for 3-5.

Normally forecasting for an entire season is not possible, but there are ways to forecast if the hurricane season will be active or not. For example, the sea surface temperatures play a huge role in the hurricane season. Warmer ocean temperatures help fuel more hurricanes.

This summer the pattern is setting up for warm temperatures in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, and cooler temperatures in the Eastern Pacific. This is called a La Nine pattern, and data shows that during times of La Nina we see more and stronger hurricanes in the United States.

Now let’s talk about how this could impact us in the Natural State. Arkansas is far enough away from the Gulf of Mexico so hurricanes are not a huge problem. But, in the past, the remnants of the storms have caused damage and flooding.

A good example is hurricane Laura, which made landfall as a category 4 in Louisiana in 2020. As it made its way inland it weakened into a tropical storm. While the storm was over Arkansas it brought tropical-storm-force winds, several inches of rain, and several tornadoes. At points, there were more than 50,000 customers without power. There were also at least 7 confirmed tornadoes that were caused by the storm.

For this upcoming season, we don’t know if a tropical system will impact Arkansas, but the chance is higher with the forecast calling for a busier than normal 2022.

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The Arkansas Storm Team is a collaboration of two stations to bring you the largest weather team in the state when covering Arkansas weather.