NEW ORLEANS —
Eye on the Tropics:
The National Hurricane Center is highlighting two areas in the Atlantic for possible tropical development this week.
The closest one to us is a tropical wave called Invest 91-L in the central Atlantic. It has a medium chance of development as it moves toward the Windward Islands and then into the Caribbean Sea in the next several days. Right now long-range models keep it weak and far south in the Caribbean Sea. We'll watch it as always, but at this time it does not look like a threat to our area.
One other tropical wave near the coast of Africa has a high chance of development in the next five days. It may become a tropical depression this week as it moves to the north or northwest likely staying out over water.
There are no tropical threats to the Gulf Coast at this time.
HURRICANE CENTER: Live Radar, 5-Day Projected Path, Spaghetti Plots
2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook
Federal meteorologists updated their Atlantic hurricane season outlook on August 4. They still predicted an above-average season, but they brought numbers down a bit.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a total of 14 to 20 named storms, six to 10 becoming hurricanes and three to five intensifying into major hurricanes with winds greater than 110 mph. Even with averages shifting upward to reflect more active storm seasons in recent decades, these predictions are above the 30-year average of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The National Hurricane Center ran out of names for Atlantic storms in the last two years, with a record-setting 30 named storms in 2020 and 21 last year. In the past five years there have been more Category 4 and 5 hurricane landfalls in the United States than in the previous 50 years combined.
Several outside hurricane experts agree with NOAA that the Atlantic conditions are ripe for yet another active hurricane season, even though the season has been near average so far. They say La Nina reduces wind shear that could decapitate storms. The warmer water — about half a degree warmer than last year in storm-forming areas — serves as hurricane fuel. A reduction in pollution particles in the air has taken away artificial cooling in the Atlantic and a new study links that to increasing storms.
One key indicator, that takes into account the number of storms, how strong they are and how long they last, is called Accumulated Cyclone Energy index or ACE. This year could be as much as double what’s been normal since 1950. The calculation is used when determining what is an average season and what's above average.
The average ACE since 1950 is just shy of 100, while the last six years have ranged from 132 to 225 in 2017.