Federal weather forecasters are predicting an above-average hurricane season for the seventh straight year, with as many as 21 storms strong enough to earn names in 2022 and up to six of those becoming major hurricanes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Forecasters for the agency's Climate Prediction Center—a division of the National Weather Service—are predicting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms, with winds of 39 mph or higher. Six to 10 of those storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Three to six of those hurricanes could develop into major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph.

NOAA is providing these forecasts of storm ranges with 70% confidence in its outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which was issued May 24. Hurricane season stretches from June 1 to Nov. 30.

“As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms—such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area 10 years ago—remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years," said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “Since Sandy, NOAA's forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods."

NOAA scientists based their 2022 forecast in part on the ongoing La Niña, a weather pattern that suppresses hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific basins and strengthens it in the Atlantic basin. Other causes include warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon.

“Early preparation and understanding your risk are key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready," said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around-the-clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed."

Research meteorologists at Colorado State University are also forecasting an above-average hurricane season this year in the Atlantic Basin. The university's Tropical Weather and Climate Prediction Center, in a forecast issued in April, predicted 19 named storms, with nine of those reaching hurricane strength and four attaining major hurricane status.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center will update its 2022 Atlantic outlook in early August, just before the expected peak of hurricane season.