Tropical Storm Alex on Sunday morning. Satellite image: NOAA

The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season got underway this week and the first named storm is already churning off the coast of Florida.

Tropical Storm Alex formed in the Atlantic early Sunday morning. It is not forecast to develop into a hurricane and its expected trajectory does not pose a landfall risk to the mainland United States. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda.

The tropical depression that would become Alex formed in the Gulf of Mexico and moved across southern Florida, dumping more than 10 inches of rain in some areas and causing major urban flooding.

Tropical Storm Alex is the first of the 14-21 named storms — winds of 39 mph to higher — predicted to form in the Atlantic this year, another year of above-average hurricane activity, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Predication Center.

Of the named storms this year, 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher), NOAA said.

If the prediction is accurate, 2022 would be the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA said it provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.

The names to be assigned to named storms in 2022. Image: NOAA

“The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon,” NOAA said. “An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons.”

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The Climate Prediction Center will update the 2022 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges residents and businesses to know their hurricane risk and make an emergency plan, learn evacuation routes and follow instructions from local emergency managers. Visit the FEMA website for hurricane preparedness information. En Español.

FEMA has a mobile app that provides real-time alerts from the National Weather Service, safety tips, helps locate emergency centers and register for disaster assistance, among other things. The app can be downloaded on Google Play and the App Store

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.