Hurricane season in the Lehigh Valley

Written by on August 24, 2022

Aliza Lev
July 25, 2022

BETHLEHEM, Pa, – The Lehigh Valley was hit hard by hurricanes during August and September the past two years.

Here’s what peak Atlantic hurricane season might have in store for the area in 2022.

Lehigh University Professor Benjamin Felzer teaches courses on weather and climate. He said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts this year to have an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

Felzer said this is because the current climate is in a La Niña phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation Cycle.

“These phases affect sea surface temperatures. There tend to be more Atlantic hurricanes in a La Niña phase, Felzer said.

But that might not mean more hurricanes will hit the Lehigh Valley.

“You can’t ever predict where a hurricane is going to hit,” Felzer said, “You could get more hurricanes, but they just stay at sea or they hit landfall somewhere else and not near us. So, that’s just not predictable.”

Felzer said hurricanes that do affect the Lehigh Valley this year will likely be a source of flooding and wind damage in the area, as they have been in the past.

Hurricane Ida in 2021 and Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020 caused flooding throughout the region.

“When you look at the dominant source of flooding in the Lehigh watershed, especially August to September, tropical storms are the major source of flooding,” Felzer said.

He said wind damage caused by hurricanes is also a major concern for the Lehigh Valley this year.

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