September 15th, 2010

Update: Hurricane Igor

Posted at 9:26 AM ET

igor4-smallIgor remains a powerful category 4 hurricane, with the center of the storm located approximately 1,090 miles (1,755 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Igor currently packs sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kmph) and is moving in a west-northwest direction at around 10 mph (17 kmph). Igor is expected to take a turn to the northwest shortly and maintain this motion over the next 48 hours. On this track, Igor is expected to stay well clear of the U.S. coastline and approach Bermuda by the weekend. The NHC said hurricane storm-force winds extend 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm-force winds extend 225 miles (360 kilometers).

Forecasters expect Igor to take a northwesterly track over the next few days as it curves away from the northern Leeward Islands. However, due to Igor’s proximity, powerful waves are currently affecting the Leeward Islands. Large swells are also expected to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today and reach the Bahamas tomorrow, the NHC said. The NHC added that these swells are likely to cause life threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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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.

Igor has strengthened slightly since yesterday but remains a category 4 hurricane. Some fluctuation in intensity is likely over the next few days as the hurricane continues to move across the mid-Atlantic. Igor is expected to sustain its category 4 status over the next few days due to favorable conditions (warm sea surface temperatures and low wind sheer), but some weakening is then predicted as the hurricane approaches Bermuda. Although there is significant uncertainty associated with the forecast track, Igor is a big hurricane with a large wind field and the storm’s outer bands are likely to start affecting Bermuda on September 18. According to NHC forecast, Igor is expected to pass over or near Bermuda on September 19 and 20 September as a category 3 hurricane. However, long-term forecasts are subject to change and Guy Carpenter will continue to closely monitor Igor’s progress.

Behind Igor, Julia has rapidly strengthened over the last 24 hours to become a category 4 hurricane. However, long-term forecasts suggest the storm will remain over open waters and weaken back into a tropical storm by early next week as increased wind sheer and lower sea surface temperatures eventually sap Julia’s strength.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Karl developed in the northwestern Caribbean Sea on September 14 to become the 11th named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. Karl is expected to make landfall over the Yucatan Peninsula later today as a moderate tropical storm with sustained winds of around 60 mph (100 kmph). Forecasters said up to 8 inches (205 millimeters) of rain could fall over parts of Mexico, Belize and northern Guatemala. Karl is expected to weaken as it moves across the Yucatan Peninsula before emerging over the southern Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. Favourable conditions in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to see Karl intensify back into a tropical storm during this time. According to the official NHC forecast, Karl is expected to make its second landfall in Mexico as a category 1 hurricane on September 18.

Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Reuters News

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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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