If you didn’t already know, hurricane season is here. The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts until November 30, with August through October witnessing the most intense activity. Tropical storms and hurricanes tend to reach their peaks in mid-September. Yep – it’s right around the corner. Let’s take a look at projections for the 2022 season.
What’s the Projection for This Year’s Hurricane Season?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts there’s a 65% chance that hurricane season will be more active this year, bringing an increased likelihood of major storms hitting Texas and other areas along the coast.
A Colorado State University study agreed, releasing a forecast that gave Texas a 59% chance of a hurricane hitting the state this year.
While the average season has 14 named storms, NOAA projects this season will bring up to 21 named storms, with as many as ten reaching hurricane status.
If this plays out, 2022 will be the seventh year in a row for above-average Atlantic hurricane activity.
Hurricanes In Texas
Texas has a long history of hurricanes, with the earliest recorded in 1875. Since 1900, Texas has been the state most impacted by hurricanes. They hit the Texas coast an average of once every six years, with Hurricane Harvey in 2015 being the most deadly and expensive.
- 1961: Hurricane Carla — Category 4, $1.9 billion, 125 deaths
- 1967: Hurricane Beulah — Category 5, $1.6 billion, 56 deaths
- 1983: Hurricane Alicia — Category 3, $1.3 billion, 18 deaths
- 2005: Hurricane Rita — Category 3, $20.6 billion, 11 deaths
- 2008: Hurricane Ike — Category 3, $32.3 billion, 23 deaths
- 2015: Hurricane Harvey — Category 4, $125 billion, 68 deaths
What’s Causing the Projected Increase in Storm Activity?
You guessed it – climate change has a lot to do with the uptick in hurricane activity. When ocean temperatures rise, hurricanes get stronger. In fact, studies have determined that Hurricane Harvey would not have produced so much rain without the effects of climate change.
Dangers of Hurricanes
With wind speeds reaching at least 74 mph, Hurricanes are the most intense of tropical cyclones. They differ from tropical storms, which have wind speeds of 39–73 mph, and tropical depressions, with sustained winds of 38 mph or less.
Strong winds and heavy rain are notorious for causing catastrophic flooding and wind that damages buildings, brings down trees, and affects utility services.
Storm surge flooding, however, is often the greatest threat during a hurricane. Storm surges raise water levels extremely quickly, resulting in potentially catastrophic flash floods. Once the water starts moving, it only needs to be six inches deep to knock over an adult. Two feet of moving water can carry away a vehicle.
And don’t think a “low category” hurricane won’t produce a storm surge. Any category of storm can cause a life-threatening storm surge. The topography of the Gulf Coast makes it particularly vulnerable to surges, even miles inland from the coastline.
You’ve undoubtedly heard meteorologists and newscasters mention the category of a storm when talking about hurricanes — and you’ve seen it mentioned here a few times. This indicates the storm’s intensity based on its sustained wind speed, according to what’s known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
Category One: 74–95 mph
Hazardous winds will damage roofs, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters. Tree branches will snap, and some smaller trees may go down. Power lines may be damaged, affecting service.
Category Two: 96–110 mph
Dangerous winds will cause extensive property damage. Trees may be snapped or uprooted. Power loss is likely, and outages could last days or even weeks.
Category Three: 111–129 mph
Devastating damage will occur to homes. Trees will be snapped or uprooted, and roads will be blocked. Electricity and water may be unavailable for days or weeks.
Category Four: 130–156 mph
Homes will sustain severe damage, including potential roof and exterior wall loss. Trees and power lines will go down. Power outages will last weeks to months. Much of the area will be immediately uninhabitable.
Category Five: 157+ mph
Significant hurricanes bring catastrophic damage, destroying homes, utility services, and travel. Power outages will last weeks or months, and affected areas may require major rebuilding.
Preparing yourself for a hurricane is a lot easier than you think. Below are several steps to prepare your family for a storm.
- Have an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in your family knows it.
- Review your insurance policy before hurricane season to know what it covers. You can also call your insurance company to discuss and verify that your policy isn’t subject to exclusions.
- Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles and make the necessary repairs.
- Invest in a generator to maintain power if the electricity service goes out.
- Prepare your property by filling low spots to discourage flooding and trimming dead branches. Remove or store any decorations, furniture, above-ground pools, and other items that could take flight in high winds.
- Keep an emergency kit stocked and ready, and store your important documents in a waterproof container in an accessible area so you can grab them if you have to evacuate.