With just three weeks left of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season left, Mother Nature isn’t wasting any time: odds are increasing that there will be a landfalling hurricane along the U.S. East Coast; it is also likely that another storm will also develop in the Atlantic. If both of these systems form as expected by the National Hurricane Center, 2022 will tie with 2005 for having the most tropical cyclones after October 31.
The area of greatest concern is east of the Bahamas and north of Puerto Rico. An area of low pressure located more than 300 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), this system is forecast to move generally northwestward over the southwestern Atlantic where environmental conditions appear conducive for additional development. Because of this, the NHC says it is likely that a subtropical or tropical storm will form in the next day or two. The NHC says the system is then forecast to turn westward or west-southwestward over the southwestern Atlantic by the middle part of this week where additional development is possible.
Global computer forecast guidance is in agreement with the theory that a storm will form and head into the United States. All major global computer forecast models, including the American GFS and European ECMWF, forecast intensification and improvement of the storm structure as it heads closer to the United States. In fact, most models bring the storm into the Florida east coast as a hurricane during the middle to later part of this week. Beyond then, forecast models differ on what’ll happen next. Some have the storm moving inland up the coastal plain, bringing a major fresh water flood threat to the I-95 corridor up the entire U.S. East Coast. Other models bring the storm more out to sea after impacting Florida, brushing the Mid Atlantic with severe winds and heavy rains as it parallels the coast just off-shore. It is too soon to say with any high degree of certainty where the storm will go or how strong it’ll be when it gets wherever.
However, it looks like size-wise, this will become a very large cyclone. And it appears the atmospheric pattern will help steer the storm into the East Coast rather than away from it. Overall, the NHC believes there’s a 80% chance of tropical cyclone formation over the next 48 hours; those odds are at a high 90% for the next five days.
According to the National Hurricane Center, regardless of development, there is an increasing risk of coastal flooding, tropical-storm-force winds, heavy rainfall, rough surf, and beach erosion along much of the southeastern United States coast, the Florida east coast, and portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas beginning in the early to middle part of this week.
The National Hurricane Center also cautions that Tropical Storm, Hurricane, and Storm Surge Watches could be required for a portion of the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast by early Monday.
The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring another system located to the north and east of the first one. A system well east of Bermuda continues to produce gale-force winds and an area of showers and thunderstorms displaced to the east of the center. The NHC says that if shower activity re-develops closer to the center, a tropical storm could form over the next couple of days while the system drifts slowly through tomorrow and then moves northeastward over the central Atlantic. The system is forecast to eventually merge with a strong cold front by the middle part of this week, which would end any additional cyclone development. The NHC says there’s a 70% chance a cyclone will form here sometime between the next 2-5 days.
The next two storms to be used on the list of Atlantic Storm Names would be Nicole and Owen. The next storm to become a tropical or subtropical storm would be named by the National Hurricane Center as “Nicole”; it is too soon to say which of the two storms the NHC is tracking would become first. As such, it may be a Nicole or Owen that ends up threatening the U.S. East Coast.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ends at the end of this month.