PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Wednesday, June 1 marks the official start of the 2022 hurricane season, and if it’s anything like recent years, which experts are expecting, it’ll be another busy season.

The outlook from NOAA is calling for anywhere between 14 to 21 named tropical cyclones, 6 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes. All of these numbers roughly on the high side of the 30-year average.

“It was suspected that eventually there’d be more hurricanes, they’d be wetter, and they’d be stronger,” said Don Slater, Chief Meteorologist Emeritus. “Well the first two, definitely correct and it’s happening sooner than we expected.”

Predicting where these storms will go has improved dramatically over the past two decades or so, but challenges still lie in the intensity forecasts. With more heat in our atmosphere and oceans, rapid intensification happens more often.

“That’s an issue we’re trying to forecast for,” said Jeremy Wheeler, Meteorologist. “The models can only do so much when something intensifies 24 millibars in 24 hours.”

Understanding the changes and uncertainty that comes from forecasting tropical cyclones is pivotal for us as a community, to stay safe and prepared.

“When everyone looks at a forecast they think where it’s going to make landfall and with what winds,” said Chief Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson. “But we have to remember there’s other things with a tropical system. It’s tropical! It has a lot of water with it, it’s going to have a lot of rain with it. And the flooding could do, and probably would do, more damage than the winds would at that location.”

Over the past 15 years, only three hurricane seasons were ‘quiet’. And while the trend has been active seasons, we have to remember hurricane season is a marathon, not a sprint. How we as a community in Hampton Roads interpret and communicate information to stay and prepared will always be more important than category size, wind speeds and unnecessary spaghetti plots.

“When it comes down to a storm approaching our coastline, boom, then it’s on us,” added Slater. “We know what the lay of the land is, we know where there are swamps, low lying areas, where there are people living.”

After all, whether the season is active or inactive, all it takes is one storm to make an impact.