HOUSTON (ICIS)--Meteorologists at Colorado State University revised their 2022 hurricane season forecast from active to very active as the chances of La Nina conditions have risen since its initial report in April.
The CSU hurricane researchers predicted 19 tropical storms and hurricanes in April, compared with the average of 14.4, but increased the prediction to 20 after more data on the development of the La Nina weather pattern emerged.
During a La Nina weather pattern, hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific basins is suppressed and enhanced in the Atlantic basin.
With average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean now warmer than normal, the CSU team said conditions are favourable for a very active hurricane season.
Of the 20 named storms, the CSU researchers expect 10 of those to become hurricanes, with five likely to reach major hurricane strength.
Hurricanes are rated using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, numbered from 1 to 5, based on a hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speeds, with a Category 5 storm being the strongest.
|Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale|
Meteorologists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted between 14 and 21 named storms this season in the NOAA forecast in May.
Hurricanes and tropical storms can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, because many of the nation's plants and refineries are along the US Gulf Coast in the states of Texas and Louisiana.
Also, offshore US oil and gas production is concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas supplies because companies often evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution.
Petrochemical markets are already tight because of problems caused by logistical constraints and the busy hurricane season in 2021.
Hurricane Ida hit the central Louisiana coast as a category 4 hurricane on 29 August, bringing with it strong winds and flooding to the area which impacted chemical plants in the region.
Ida tightened US chemical and polymer markets, including the chlor-alkali chain all the way through polyvinyl chloride (PVC), methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) styrene, linear alpha olefins (LAO), phthalic anhydride (PA) and butanediol (BDO).
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June to 30 November.
The CSU team will issue forecast updates on 7 July and 4 August.
Thumbnail image shows Hurricane Laura over the Gulf of Mexico in August 2020. (Photo by AP/Shutterstock)
(adds missing words "offshore US", paragraph 9)