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Meteorologists update 2022 hurricane outlook and it’s only looking worse

FILE – This photo made available by NASA shows Hurricane Harvey over Texas on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, seen from the International Space Station. Studies show that climate change are making hurricanes wetter, because warm air can hold more moisture, and are making the strongest storms a bit stronger. (Randy Bresnik/NASA via AP, File)

(NEXSTAR) – Meteorologists at Colorado State University updated their forecast for the 2022 hurricane season Thursday, and it’s not looking good.

Earlier this year, the university’s outlook called for 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four “major hurricanes.” Now, as the first possible strong Atlantic storm of the season threatens to form off the coast of Mexico, conditions look even riper for a busy storm season.

“We have increased our forecast and now call for a well above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season in 2022,” the university wrote in its update Thursday.

While an average year has about 14 named storms, the outlook expects 20 named storms this year.

Strong tropical storms get names to reduce confusion and help meteorologists communicate each storm’s danger to the public, according to the National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm gets a name when its wind speeds surpass 39 mph. When winds top 74 mph, the storm becomes a hurricane but retains its name.

On a normal year there about 7 hurricanes per season, but in 2022 CSU meteorologists expect 10 hurricanes. They are predicting five of those hurricanes will develop into “major hurricanes.”

“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,” CSU writes in its update. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

An average year has 27 hurricane days and 69.4 named storm days, the CSU meteorologists said. In 2022, they expect there to be 35 hurricane days and 90 named storm days.

Persisting La Niña climate conditions have a big influence on this forecast and on hurricane season. A La Niña pattern typically weakens storms originating in the Pacific, but leads to stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic started on June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30.

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