MIAMI — Hurricane Ian has left its mark on Florida.
Thousands of Floridians will have to start over and rebuild after the storm struck Southwest Florida as a deadly Category 4 hurricane, damaging bridges and roadways, destroying homes and upending everyday life. People in other parts of the state are also still reeling from the storm, which brought historic storm surge to the Keys and flooding rain across Central Florida.
And Ian, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the U.S., is a stark reminder that hurricane season isn’t over yet. There are still 12 other storm names on the main list for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which started on June 1 and officially ends Nov. 30.
“With two full months left in the Atlantic hurricane season, now is not time for people to let their guard down,” said Jasmine Blackwell, a spokeswoman for NOAA’s National Weather Service.
‘Not out of the woods yet’ with storm season
The National Hurricane Center says most activity in the Atlantic comes between mid-August and mid-October. And while storms are less common after September, the peak of hurricane season, “we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Alex DesRosiers, a Ph.D candidate at Colorado State University who is part of the school’s Tropical Weather & Climate Research group.
DesRosiers said conditions in the warm waters of the Atlantic basin remain favorable enough for tropical storms and hurricanes to develop, even after Ian’s trek through the Caribbean. Warm water helps fuel tropical cyclones. The Pacific’s La Niña is also decreasing vertical wind shear, which helps tear apart hurricanes as they try to form, he said.
Both NOAA and Colorado State University are calling for an above-average hurricane season this year, though their confidence in this prediction slightly dipped in August as a cooler than expected Atlantic led to a quiet period during the summer.
“The unusual period, which spanned almost the entirety of July and August, was a surprise to all in the tropical cyclone research community and is the reason why an above-normal season is far less likely now,” said DesRosiers. “The strange quiet highlights how complicated the task of predicting hurricane season before its peak is.”
NOAA, in its August update, slightly decreased its prediction for an above-normal season from 65% to 60% and said the season could see up to 20 named storms.