IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

19 named tropical storms predicted for 2022

Colorado State University meteorologists said it is "impossible" to exactly predict the number of cyclones, but said the average is rising and approaching the end of a 21-name list.
A palm tree damaged by Hurricane Ida in Galliano, La., on  Aug. 31, 2021.
A palm tree damaged by Hurricane Ida in Galliano, La., on Aug. 31, 2021.Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

The 2022 hurricane season, which formally begins June 1, is expected to have "above average" activity with 19 named tropical cyclones, according to a report released Thursday by meteorologists at Colorado State University.

Of the 19 storms, nine are expected to strengthen to hurricanes with sustained winds above 73 miles per hour, they said.

Nineteen tropical cyclones would be two less than the 21 named in 2021, but well above the 1991-2021 annual average of around 14 hurricanes per year.

Researchers said their annual forecast report is for the Atlantic basin, which has "the largest year-to-year variability of any of the global tropical cyclone basins."

"Our forecasts are based on the premise that those global oceanic and atmospheric conditions which preceded comparatively active or inactive hurricane seasons in the past provide meaningful information about similar trends in future seasons," and said retrospective analysis shows strength in past predictions.

Despite that variability, 2021 was the sixth straight year of above-average Atlantic hurricanes for a world increasingly concerned with the impact of climate change.

For coastal residents, researchers said, it “only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season.”

“They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted."

In terms of climate change, the report lays bare the increasingly high chance that a major hurricane of category 3 strength or above will make landfall on any part of the U.S. coastline: 71 percent in 2022, up from 52 percent during any one year over the last century.

The predicted 19 named storms for 2022 again gets close to the end of a list of 21 names, interchanging between male and female, predesignated for tropical cyclones each year through 2026, according to the National Hurricane Center.

For 2022 the names are: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

After exhausting the 21-name list in 2005 and proceeding into backup Greek alphabet letters, meteorologists considered adding more names and a spokesperson for the the National Hurricane pondered, "What happens if you have to retire a Greek alphabet letter?"

Then in 2020's record-setting hurricane season, Hurricane Zeta formally reached the end of the United Nation's backup list of Greek letters for the first time as the twenty-seventh named storm of the year.

Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University and author of the study, did not immediately respond to a NBC News request for comment.