September 20th, 2010

Update: Hurricane Igor

Posted at 8:41 AM ET

igor-small-092010Hurricane Igor passed approximately 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Bermuda at 03:00 UTC on Monday, September 20 (23:00 on September 19 local time), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC said Igor had weakened into a category 1 hurricane at this time with sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kmph). Bermuda was subjected to hurricane-force winds as Igor passed the island, with the NHC recording wind gusts of up to 93 mph (150 kmph). The strong winds and heavy rain associated with Igor has cut power to homes and triggered some flooding. As of 09:00 UTC, Igor was moving away from Bermuda in a north-northeast direction. Igor is expected to continue to move away from Bermuda today and pass offshore of the southeastern tip of Newfoundland in Canada on Tuesday. Igor remains a large hurricane, with hurricane-force winds extending 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center while tropical storm-force winds extend 345 miles (555 kilometers).

The hurricane warning in Bermuda has been discontinued and replaced with a tropical storm warning. The NHC said tropical storm conditions are still occurring in Bermuda. Rainfall of up to 9 inches (230 millimeters) was expected to fall in Bermuda, and a dangerous storm surge was expected to produce significant coastal flooding, particularly along the southern coastline. Residents battened down their homes and property as the storm approached. Hotel cancellations were also reported across Bermuda.


Although Igor avoided making a direct hit on Bermuda, powerful wind gusts were recorded on the island as the storm’s strongest winds were located to the north and east of its center. These powerful winds downed trees and power poles, while waves of up to 12 feet (3.5 meters) high crashed into the island’s coastline. Bermuda’s energy company Belco said about 19,000 of its 35,000 customers were without power. Although there have been no reports of major damage, flooding has been reported in low-lying areas of Bermuda, while streets in the capital of Hamilton were covered in several inches of water and littered with tree branches and other debris. Residents also reported flying debris with some homes and boats torn free from moorings. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

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. Bermuda’s building codes specify that homes must be built to be able to withstand wind gusts of up to 150 mph (240 kmph) and sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kmph).

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 if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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