September 20th, 2010

Update: Hurricane Karl

Posted at 12:51 PM ET

karl-small-092010Hurricane Karl made landfall about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Veracruz City in Mexico at around 18:30 UTC (11:30 local time) on September 17 as a category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of around 115 mph (185 kmph), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC added Karl was a relatively small storm at landfall, with hurricane-force winds extending 25 miles (35 kilometers) from its center and tropical storm-force winds extending 90 miles (150 kilometers). Karl weakened rapidly after coming shore as it tracked in a west-southwest direction over a sparsely populated region.

Karl became the first major hurricane to make landfall in 2010, and reports said it was the strongest storm to the region since Hurricane Janet in September 1955. Officials said Karl caused widespread damage, knocking down hundreds of trees and power poles. At least 12 people were killed after Karl came ashore, and around 500,000 households were left without power and drinking water, reports said. A state of emergency was declared in 125 municipalities after 8 inches (210 millimeters) of rainfall fell and waves of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) hit the region. EQECAT said insured losses from Karl are likely to be less than USD400 million.

karl-big-092010

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.

According to the NHC, Veracruz was subjected to hurricane-force winds and significant damage was reported in the city and its surroundings as Karl affected the states of Veracruz, Puebla and Tabasco. At least 16,000 people were displaced by flooding and landslides in Veracruz alone and around 20,000 homes were inundated, according to officials. Transportation was also affected as roads were closed in Veracruz and the international airport suspended flights.

Significant damage was also reported in coastal communities located to the north of Veracruz City, an area that was hit by Karl’s strongest winds. Residents in the towns of Farallon, San Pancho, Cardel and Palma Sola were evacuated after heavy rainfall triggered floods. Officials said Karl’s strong winds also downed trees and power lines in the region and a nuclear plant in Alto Lucero was shutdown as a precaution. Offshore, Mexico’s state-run oil company, Pemex, said it had evacuated platforms in Karl’s path and halted production at 14 minor wells. Two of Mexico’s main oil exporting ports were also forced to suspend operations, according to reports.

Earlier Karl made landfall near Puerto Bravo in Quintana Roo State on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula at 12:45 UTC on 15 September, downing trees and causing power cuts. Karl packed sustained winds of around 65 mph (105 kmph) at landfall and up to 8 inches of rainfall (210 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.

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

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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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