(WGHP) – We’ve made it over halfway through August without a hurricane in the Atlantic. The last hurricane was on Oct. 5, 2021, over 321 days ago!
While we’ve had a few named storms this season, none of them have been able to reach hurricane strength.
The Atlantic has been so quiet this season that the period between July 3 and Aug. 23 is now the third longest gap between named storms since 1995. The 50-day streak surpassed June 17 to Aug. 2, 2001–46 days–and sits behind the two longest stretches in the past 25 years.
The streak was thought to have ended Friday, Aug. 19 with the formation of Potential Tropical Cyclone Four forecast to become Tropical Storm Danielle by the end of the day. However, by Saturday morning, the storm had moved over Mexico ending its potential for further development.
In 2007, there was a 59-day streak without named storms from June 2 to July 31. And in 1999, the Atlantic went 61 days between named storms lasting from June 18 to Aug. 18.
There are over three months remaining in the 2022 hurricane season which lasts through November 30. Forecasters are still calling for an additional 11-17 named storms this year.
How does the 2022 Atlantic season compare to the other seasons with large gaps between named storms?
In 2007, of 15 named storms, only six reached hurricane strength, and two were major hurricanes. The 2001 season also had 15 named storms, nine of which reached hurricane strength and four reached major hurricane status (category 3+).
In the last three decades, the record holder for the longest gap between named storms is the year 1999. We reached mid-August with only one named storm, Arlene. But, by Aug. 18 through the end of November, 11 new tropical storms formed, eight of which reached hurricane strength, and five became major hurricanes.
In 1999, one of the most memorable storms for North Carolina was Hurricane Floyd. At its peak, Floyd was a category 4 major hurricane that eventually weakened and made landfall in Cape Fear as a category 2 hurricane on Sept. 16.
The Piedmont Triad recorded over two inches of rainfall from Hurricane Floyd. The highest rainfall amounts from Floyd occurred along the NC coast. Wilmington received 19.06 inches of rain, and Southport recorded 24.06 inches of rain.
A look at the tropics
At the start of the 2022 hurricane season, sea surface temperatures ran cooler than normal for the first few months of the season. However, water temperatures are warming quickly and are now hotter than average in the main development region of the Atlantic.
According to long-range forecast models, upper-level wind shear, which typically squashes potential storm development, is expected to weaken later this month and for much of September.
The combination of weakened upper-level wind shear and warmer sea surface temperatures favors tropical development. While the 2022 season has been quiet up to this point, experience from past similar years reminds us not to let our guard down yet.
As of Aug. 23, there are a few areas of interest in the Atlantic but none look to be a cause for concern anytime soon.
The three disturbances have less than a 20% chance of development over the next five days.