Fewer tropical cyclones than normal are expected to form in the central Pacific Ocean region that includes Hawaii during the upcoming hurricane season, according to an outlook released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The area is expected to see between two and four such cyclones in the 2022 season, according to NOAA’s Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center. That could include tropical depressions, tropical storms or hurricanes. In a normal season, the region sees four or five such storms, according to NOAA’s statement Wednesday.

Hurricane Douglas threatened to make landfall in Hawaii in 2020 but eventually missed the islands by a few dozen miles. Courtesy: NWS/2020

A big reason for NOAA’s prediction of a below-normal season is the sustained presence of so-called La Niña weather patterns this year in the Pacific, agency officials said. The pattern should lead to greater vertical wind shear, according to NOAA lead hurricane forecaster Matthew Rosencrans — and that shear makes it more difficult for hurricanes to develop.

In fact, such wind shear helped break apart Hurricane Lane in 2018 off Oahu’s southern shore.

Last year, officials predicted two to five cyclones in the Central Pacific for the 2021 season due to cooler regional sea surface conditions. Only one such storm eventually appeared, they said Wednesday.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

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