NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The tropical Atlantic has been quiet for the last three weeks, and it looks to remain that way through the end of July.
After a few storms in early June, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season has seen a lull in activity this month. That trend is expected to continue as the National Hurricane Center says development is not expected for at least the next five days.
The lack of storms is in part due to multiple rounds of Saharan dust moving off the west coast of Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean over the last few weeks.
The Saharan Air Layer tends to suppress tropical storm activity as it dries out the atmosphere and leads to increased wind shear (which can disrupt the circulation in small storms). Saharan dust activity typically ramps up in mid-June and peaks from late June to mid-August, with outbreaks occurring every three to five days on average.
Some global weather patterns have also been unfavorable for tropical activity in the Atlantic. One pattern, known as the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), has been in a quiet phase over the Atlantic this month. This will likely change next month.
This weeks-long period of calmness is not unusual, as most hurricane season activity occurs after August 1. Historically, the peak of hurricane season activity is around September 10.
Forecasters are still calling for an above-average hurricane season, with 14 to 21 named storms. Of those named storms, six to 10 are expected to become hurricanes with three to six major hurricanes.