Brace Yourself for a “Monster” Hurricane Season

May 27, 2022

Expect to see more images this extra-juicehurricane season of nature's power and fury. Scenes of 100-plus mph winds damaging homes, millions without power, and floods turning streets into rivers could all happen more than normal.      

The Atlantic hurricane season starts Wednesday. Federal meteorologists forecast the six-month season could be unusually busy. They predict 14 to 21 named storms in the Atlantic. Six to 10 of those storms could become hurricanes, forecasters say. That means they will pack winds topping 75 mph. The predictions would continue a trend of much busier hurricane seasons in recent years

In fact, we’ve run out of names for Atlantic storms in the past two years. The 30 named storms in 2020 shattered records. Last year, 21 named storms hit the US. They included  Hurricane Ida. It made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, lashed nine states, and killed 91 people. 

Experts point to a perfect storm of factors this hurricane season, including: 

  • Climate change. Much of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases ends up being stored in the oceans. The warming has spread more deeply into the waters of the Atlantic. That can fuel more destructive hurricanes. 
  • A “loop” current. This warm-water extends much farther from the Mexican coast into the Gulf of Mexico than usual for this time of year. Nick Shay, an oceanography professor says the current packs the power to trigger “monster hurricanes.”  
  • A “La Niña.” The short-term climate swing occurs when Pacific water temperatures sink to lower than average. That weakens an important weather pattern that can sap Atlantic storms of their strength: windshear.  
Question
If readers wanted to know the probability for a below-normal hurricane season in 2022, they should reference _______. (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. the article only
b. the pie chart in the infographic
c. the columns in the infographic
d. all of the above
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