Another above-average hurricane season is in the forecast for 2022. A prediction issued Thursday by scientists at Colorado State University says there will be at least 19 named storms and nine hurricanes — four of which will be Category 3 or higher.
An average season normally has 14 named storms, around seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
Residents living along the U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean should be prepared for “an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall” near their homes, researchers said. Hurricane season begins officially in June and lasts through November.
“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the researchers said. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
The busier-than-average predicted season continues a trend that researchers have seen for some time. Last season, CSU scientists predicted 17 named storms and four major hurricanes.
Hurricanes are likelier to be larger and more powerful as they form over hotter ocean water. Thanks to climate change, global sea-surface temperatures are rising.
Not all storms make landfall. But those that do can lead to more than $1 billion in damage, especially as these storms continue to cause more severe flooding.
NPR spoke with longtime emergency manager Chauncia Willis in 2020 about how people should prepared for hurricanes:
1. Prepare an evacuation plan. Beforehand, decide where you’ll go, map the route and create a family communication plan for what to do if family members get separated and can’t reach one another.
2. Have a go-kit ready. Some items to include are spare car keys, cash (don’t count on ATMs working), a two-week supply of medications, phone chargers, hygiene items (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, menstrual products, diapers), important documents (insurance policies, proof of homeownership, lease agreement), a battery-operated emergency radio, a flashlight, batteries and rain gear.
3. Use a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything in the stress of the moment. The American Red Cross has a checklist, and the U.S. government’s Ready.gov also has resources to help with planning.
4. If your resources are tight, be creative and seek help now to be ready. For example, if you don’t have transportation, register beforehand with your local government so authorities know you’ll need help evacuating.
5. Take the threat seriously. Willis says climate change has made the threat of a natural disaster more significant: Storms are becoming larger and more powerful and are creating more damage.