September 16th, 2010

Update: Hurricane Igor

Posted at 8:39 AM ET

igor5-smallIgor remains a powerful category 4 hurricane, with the center of the storm located approximately 955 miles (1,535 kilometers) south-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 7 mph (11 kmph). Igor is expected to take a turn to the northwest shortly and maintain this motion over the next couple of days. 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 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm-force winds extend 275 miles (445 kilometers).

Forecasters expect Igor to take a northwesterly track over the next few days as it continues to curve away from the northern Leeward Islands. However, due to Igor’s proximity, powerful waves are continuing to affect the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Large swells are also expected to affect the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast later today and through the weekend, the NHC said. The NHC added that these swells are likely to cause life threatening surf and rip current conditions. 

igor5-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.

Igor 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 as a category 2/3 hurricane with sustained winds exceeding 100 mph (160 kmph).

According to the NHC, there is currently a 16 percent chance of Bermuda experiencing hurricane force-winds in the next 120 hours. The last hurricane to significantly impact Bermuda occurred in 2003 when Hurricane Fabian passed around 15 miles (25 kilometers) to the west of the island. Winds of up to 120 mph (195 kmph) caused significant damage in Bermuda, although strict building codes limited insured losses to around USD300 million.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Karl made landfall near Puerto Bravo in Quintana Roo State on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula at 12:45 UTC on 15 September. Karl packed sustained winds of around 65 mph (z kmph) at landfall and up to 8 inches of rainfall (200 millimeters) fell in some parts. Civil protection officials said electricity was cut to tens of thousands of people and around 600 homes were flooded in the tourist city of Chetumal. Karl weakened as it moved over the Yucatan Peninsula but is expected to re-intensify now it has moved into the southern Gulf of Mexico. Favorable conditions here are expected to see Karl strengthen as it approaches the coast of Veracruz State in Mexico. According to the official NHC forecast, Karl is expected to make its second landfall near the Mexican town of Tuxpan as a category 1 hurricane on September 18. Mexico’s national oil company, Pemex, said Karl could pass close to some of its operations around the eastern Campeche Sound, where most of its crude is produced, but there are currently no reports of disruption.

Julia, meanwhile, has weakened back into a category 2 hurricane over the last 24 hours. Forecasters still expect Julia to remain over open waters and weaken further into a tropical storm by early next week as increased wind sheer and lower sea surface temperatures eventually sap the storm’s strength.

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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