JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wednesday is the last day of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season and what a year it’s been.
Two hurricanes and one tropical system impacted Florida, with another above-average season achieved.
News4JAX is looking back at the active season and the storms that left a lasting mark on Florida.
Forecast vs. Actual
The forecast from numerous weather services was for an above-average season. Colorado State University originally forecast 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
NOAA came out with a forecast of 14 to 21 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes. These forecasts were modified throughout the season.
By August, Colorado State had reduced its forecast to 18 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. NOAA reduced its forecast to 14 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.
The final total for this season is 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and two major hurricanes — Fiona and Ian.
This is a slightly above-average season, with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes the historical norm.
The Typical Start
No named storm developed in May, which was the first time this hasn’t occurred since 2014. The first advisory from the National Hurricane Center was issued on June 2, for Potential Tropical Cyclone One in the Gulf of Mexico.
This would be the first tropical system to impact Florida.
The potential cyclone would go on to become Tropical Storm Alex in the Atlantic, and dumped significant rainfall over portions of South Florida, and produced windy conditions across sections of Southwest Florida.
The Quiet Middle
Two other named storms formed in early July in Bonnie and Colin. Bonnie was in the southern Caribbean, while Colin was a short-lived storm along the South Carolina coast.
Then things got quiet. Really quiet.
No named storms would form throughout most of July and all of August. The next named storm didn’t arrive until Sept. 1, when Danielle formed.
The Very Active End
From there, activity boomed in the tropics.
Six named storms would develop in September, with the headliner being Hurricane Ian. Ian formed on Sept. 23 in the central Caribbean. It would go on to become a major hurricane and slam ashore near Fort Myers. The hurricane created 12 to 18 feet of storm surge, covering huge sections of Fort Myers Beach and parts of Downtown Fort Myers.
The surge is likely the greatest storm surge event in the US since Katrina in 2005.
Ian would go on to produce historic flooding in Central Florida, and significant beach erosion across sections of Northeast Florida.
The season remained active into October — with three named storms — and November was shockingly active with two more named storms and a hurricane hitting Florida.
Hurricane Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach on Nov. 10. It was the first November hurricane to hit the east coast of Florida since the Yankee Hurricane of 1935. Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia were already dealing with a strong Nor’easter, and Nicole made the situation significantly worse.
Tidal flooding occurred along the St. Johns River and portions of the coastline, with strong winds and rains. Beach erosion was significant, with portions of A1A needing emergency repairs.
Damage and Recovery Efforts
FEMA reports nearly 3 billion dollars in federal grants, disaster loans and flood insurance payments have been provided to the state of Florida in response to Hurricane Ian. $769 million went to households and $358 million to the state for emergency response. Flager, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties were included in the relief.
With Tropical Storm Nicole, much of the damage was along A1A in Vilano Beach. A long stretch of the road was washed out and had to be temporarily shut down, Dunes were severely damaged along South Ponte Vedra Beach and at least one home became so eroded, it was teetering on the edge. St. Johns County officials have been assessing the damage.
Other impacts to our area were neighborhoods on the northside of Jacksonville. As of now, FEMA assistance has not been offered to those impacted by Nicole. Some neighbors say they do need the help.
Tropical development in December is rare, it’s not impossible. Only seven times in the Satellite Era, since 1966, has a named storm developed in December.
What about 2023?
While it is way too early to discuss specifics concerning next year’s hurricane season, we do have some early indications.
The La Nina-El Nino pattern, which helps govern the frequency of storms and hurricanes, may change heading into the summer of 2023. We remain in a La Nina pattern, which often results in above-average activity. There are some very early indications that a neutral or an El Nino pattern may develop by late summer of next year.
An El Nino pattern may result in below-average activity for the 2023 season.
So while the 2022 season was “just” slightly above-average, it will go down as a historical one for Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.