The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30, but that didn’t stop December from being a little more interesting than usual.
On December 8, days of speculation about whether the Atlantic would see Tropical Storm Owen ended as the storm system moved toward colder waters that would prevent it from strengthening. It previously had a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm and would have been the first December tropical system in nine years.
While the tropics have calmed down, the effects of the 2022 season will be felt long after the new year begins.
[Related: Forecasters predict an abnormally high number of storms for this hurricane season—again.]
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season produced 14 named storms, or those containing winds of 39 mph or greater. Of those 14 named storms, eight became hurricanes, or storms with winds of 74 mph or more. Two – Fiona and Ian – intensified into major hurricanes that had winds reaching 111 mph or more.
According to NOAA, the average hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
“Seasonal activity in 2022 fell within NOAA’s predicted ranges for named storms and hurricanes in both our pre-season outlook and updated outlook,” Matthew Rosencrans, lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement. “La Niña conditions remained robust throughout the season, while the West African monsoon was only slightly above normal, both of which were broadly in line with the conditions expected by the team at NOAA.”
The 2022 season saw a rare mid-season break in storms that scientists theorize was caused by increased wind shear and suppressed atmospheric moisture high over the Atlantic.
[Related: What hurricane categories mean, and why we use them.]
After August’s quiet period, activity increased dramatically in September with seven named storms, including this season’s two major hurricanes.
On September 21, Hurricane Fiona wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, leaving most of the island without power and dumping as much as 12 to 18 inches of rain. Days later, Fiona turned north and made a historic landfall in Canada. It was the first storm of such intensity to hit the region in about 50 years, according to Chris Fogarty, head of the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
Category 4 Hurricane Ian roared ashore on September 29 in Cayo Costa, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, causing between $50 and $65 billion in damage and at least 148 deaths. It made landfall for others as a Category 1 storm in Georgetown, South Carolina on September 30. Hurricane Ian is the fifth strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States.
The 2022 season also included a rare late-season storm, as Hurricane Nicole made landfall on November 10 along the east coast of Florida as a Category 1 storm. The storm uncovered a probably 200-year-old ship on a beach in eastern Florida.
The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and names include Arlene, Harold, Katia and Ophelia.