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Earth from Orbit: First Atlantic Hurricanes of 2022 Arrive

September 8, 2022

After a slow start to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, activity has ramped up with the first two hurricanes forming during the first week of September.  

The Atlantic went without a named storm for nearly two months, from July 6 through Aug 31. August passed without a named storm for the first time since 1997. Tropical Storm Danielle formed on Sept. 1 in the far North Atlantic. The storm gained strength unusually far north where hurricanes are rare. Record-warm ocean temperatures fueled Danielle, which strengthened into a hurricane on Sept. 2, after 332 days without an active hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Danielle weakened to a tropical storm on Sept. 3 then restrengthened to a hurricane on Sept. 4. Danielle has churned over open waters in the central North Atlantic and has not threatened land. On Sept. 8, Tropical Storm Danielle was located about 660 miles north-northwest of the Azores and moving toward the northeast. Danielle could bring heavy rainfall to parts of Europe by Sept. 11.

Tropical Storm Earl developed east of the Northern Leeward Islands on Sept. 3, and brought heavy rains to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands. Earl strengthened to hurricane status on the evening of Sept. 6 while located 550 miles south of Bermuda. Hurricane Earl is expected to pass southeast of Bermuda late on Sept. 8 and produce rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches across Bermuda through Sept. 9.

Despite warm ocean waters that favor tropical storm development, a combination of dry, stable air and unfavorable winds have suppressed development so far this season. NOAA still predicts an above-average Atlantic hurricane season due to favorable atmospheric and oceanic conditions. The historical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is Sept. 10.  

NOAA’s August update to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane outlook calls for 14-20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 3-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

Ongoing La Niña conditions are predicted to remain in place for the rest of 2022 and could slightly enhance hurricane activity. In addition to a continued La Niña, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active west African Monsoon, and above-normal Atlantic sea surface temperatures set the stage for an active hurricane season. 

NOAA satellites monitor the ocean and atmospheric conditions that lead to the development of tropical storms and hurricanes. Once a storm forms, the satellites provide critical data—such as location, movement, and intensity—to track the storms. 

As the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season approaches, NOAA satellites remain our watchful eyes in the sky, providing critical information for hurricane forecasting, tracking, and intensity estimation.