September 3rd, 2010

Update: Hurricane Earl

Posted at 5:15 PM ET

earl-fri-3-6pm-smallEarl has further weakened into a category 1 hurricane, with the center of the storm presently located around 175 miles (280 kilometers) northeast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and 350 miles (565 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket in Massachusetts, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Earl is currently packing sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kmph) and is moving in a north-northeast direction at around 21 mph (33 kmph). A turn to the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected in the next 12 to 24 hours. On this forecast track, the NHC says Earl will move away from the North Carolina Outer Banks today and approach southeastern New England tonight as it tracks parallel to the U.S. East Coast. Hurricane-force winds currently extend up to 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm winds extend up to 205 miles (335 kilometers).

The hurricane warning for North Carolina has been discontinued, as well as all watches and warnings between Hull, Massachusetts and Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The hurricane warning area for Massachusetts has been reduced. A hurricane warning is still in effect for Woods Hole eastward around Cape Cod to Sagamore Beach in Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island. In Canada, a hurricane watch is still in place for Nova Scotia from Medway Harbour to Digby. A dangerous storm surge is still expected, which will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters) within the tropical storm warning area in North Carolina and Massachusetts. Forecasters also warn that up to 5 inches (130 millimeters) of rainfall is expected over parts of eastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks, and southeast New England.

earl-fri-3-6pm-big

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

Earl has weakened to a category 1 hurricane over the last few hours, according to the NHC. Further weakening is forecasted, but Earl is still expected to be a large hurricane as it moves towards south-eastern New England tonight. Earl is expected to pass dangerously close to Cape Cod, Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard at the start of the weekend. James Franklin, chief forecaster at the NHC, expects Earl to still be a hurricane when it passes by Cape Cod. The NHC reports tropical storm-force winds occurring on portions of the North Carolina coast within the warning area, but expects the winds to gradually diminish later today. Tropical storm-force winds will also effect areas from Virginia to south-eastern New England later today, eventually spreading over the coast of Maine tonight. The NHC added that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area in Massachusetts tonight and tomorrow morning (September 4).

Hurricane Earl unleashed rain, winds, and heavy surf on the North Carolina coast on Friday, but spared communities from any major damage or injuries. North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue stated that no serious damage was done. Scattered power outages and flooding up to 3 feet (1 meter) high plagued some communities on the Outer Banks.

Earl has continued on to Virginia, where the storm is producing heavy rains and wind gusts as high as 45 mph (72 kmph). The storm is expected to stay 100 to 200 miles (161- 322 kilometers) from New Jersey and Long Island, New York as it heads toward the New England area. New York City officials are on alert, but do not expect to see effects other than rain, high winds, and possible flooding along the coasts of Brooklyn and Queens. The latest NHC forecast suggests Earl will be a category 1 hurricane as it passes New England. Forecasters predict conditions similar to a nor’easter for much of New England, bringing strong winds capable of toppling trees and downing power lines in the area. EQECAT again stresses the uncertainty in projecting Earl’s losses in Northeastern states but expects damage to total less than USD400 million if the hurricane follows its predicted track, while a westward shift could see losses exceed USD2 billion. Looking further ahead, Earl is expected to make a direct landfall over southern Nova Scotia in Canada tomorrow as a category 1 hurricane.

Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Agence France Press, Associated Press, Reuters News, CNN News, BBC News, MarketWatch

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Guy Carpenter’s Instrat® department provides CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Instrat also provides RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

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