Newsday's Faith Jessie speaks with Meteorologist Bill Korbel about NOAA’s 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, and how Long Island may be affected this season.   Credit: Newsday

The months ahead are likely to deliver more of the intense, damaging storms Long Islanders have been forced to cope with in recent years, as global weather patterns set the stage for yet another active hurricane season, experts say.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which starts next week, is forecast to be above average for the seventh year in a row, according to the annual prediction released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Meteorologist Bill Korbel said, "This may be more the norm than not as we go on through the years to come." He added: "The conditions are right to get more storms than we would like to see around here."

The outlook calls for from 14 to 21 named storms (storms are named if there are winds 39 mph or more), including 6 to 10 with hurricane strength, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes, according to the outlook.

  WHAT TO KNOW

  • Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
  • 2022's is forecast to be above average yet again — which would be the seventh-consecutive year with an above-average season.
  • Hurricane names chosen for 2022 are Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

Tuesday's outlook, announced in Brooklyn at the New York City Emergency Management Department's headquarters, has a 70% probability and will update in August.

NOAA said the increase in hurricanes that rapidly intensify can be attributed, in part, to oceans warmed by climate change, along with global forces such as La Niña that affect tropical winds in the Pacific that either help or hinder the formation of storms.

Ken Graham, the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center director, tweeted last month that there were more Category 4 and 5 landfalls in the United States from 2017 to 2021 than from 1963 to 2016. 

The results can be catastrophic.

Rick Spinrad, the NOAA administrator, said the most recent hurricane season caused $78.5 billion in damage across the nation. 

“We just experienced two extremely active hurricane seasons, marking the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names. If you go back two years, the 2020 hurricane season broke records across the board, and it’s the most active season on record — with 30 named storms," he said. "The 2021 hurricane season, which is the third most active year on record in terms of names of storms, brought us 21 named storms with impacts raging from the Appalachian Mountains, all the way to New England.”

In 2021, the outlook forecast a range of from 13 to 20 named storms.

The names are picked in advance and alternate between male and female. Atlantic names this year are Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

NOAA chose to deliver the outlook in New York due to the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy coming this autumn, as well as last year's Hurricane Ida, Spinrad said.

Superstorm Sandy, in 2012, killed 13 people on Long Island, washed 10 billion gallons of oil, garbage and sewage onto lawns, into basements, and eventually into the ocean and took out nearly 100,000 homes, businesses, schools, government buildings and other structures.

Last year, Hurricane Ida's remnants killed at least 13 people in Queens and Brooklyn — those trapped and drowned in basement apartments or trapped in cars on roadways. At the outlook announcement Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams said he planned to continue his predecessor's plan to force evacuations from apartments and institute travel bans, in cases where a storm gets too dangerous. 

Jackie Bray, the state’s top homeland security and emergency management official, said that the outlook means that Long Islanders and all New Yorkers should be prepared.

“We now not only have to be really concerned about coastal inundation — so, storm surge coming over the beaches or over the communities — we’ve gotta be worried about inland rain and inland flooding and flash flooding,” she said, adding: “If you’re out in Queens, if you’re out on the Island, that might mean that you gotta be aware if you’re in your car, if you find yourself with running water around your car.”

Lead hurricane season forecaster Matthew Rosencrans said at the Brooklyn announcement that it was not yet technologically possible to forecast exactly how many storms Long Island — or any specific region — would get in the forthcoming season, which lasts from June 1 through November 30.

The spokespersons for the Nassau and Suffolk county executives issued statements urging Long Islanders to be prepared for the storms 

“I urge everyone to create an evacuation plan, and pack a hurricane preparedness kit so that you and your family can be ready in the event you need to evacuate your home,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s statement said.

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