By Frank Giles
The main hurricane prognosticators both predicted the 2022 season would be above normal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 20 named storms. Colorado State University also predicted an above normal season with 19 named storms.
But, so far, this hurricane season has been slow. In fact, for the first time since 1997, the month of August passed without a named storm in the Atlantic. In 1997, the season produced only one hurricane after August — category three Erika
Seemingly on cue, the Atlantic produced Tropical Storm Danielle on Sept. 1, but the storm is expected to stay out to sea. But as they say, “It only takes one storm.” The only other season (1961) to not produce a named storm in August is good reason to not let your guard down. That year, from September through November, seven hurricanes were named, five of which were major (category 3 and above). The historic Hurricane Carla was among them. And lest we forget 1992, which didn’t produce its first named storm until late August. It was called Hurricane Andrew.
So why was it so slow in August? Ryan Truchelut, an atmospheric scientist and creator of consulting firm WeatherTiger, addressed the question in an email: “The missing ingredient that kept tropical waves from developing as they normally do in August was unusually dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere … just north of the central and eastern sections of the Atlantic’s Main Development Region. Mid-latitude and subtropical air masses with very low moisture content aloft repeatedly dove south and were entrained into [tropical] waves, choking off the [thunderstorm] building blocks of tropical cyclone development, despite generally favorable shear and ocean temperatures.”
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