October 12th, 2010

Hurricane Paula

Posted at 8:50 AM ET

paula-smallPaula developed on October 11 and strengthened to become the ninth hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season at 09:00 today (October 12), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Paula is currently located approximately 230 miles (370 kilometers) south-southeast of Cozumel in Mexico and packs sustained winds of around 75 mph (120 kmph). The storm is traveling in a northwesterly direction and a gradual turn to the north-northwest is expected over the next 24 hours. On this forecast track, Paula is expected to approach the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico tonight and tomorrow while strengthening. The NHC said hurricane-force winds extend 10 miles (20 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm-force winds extend 60 miles (95 kilometers).

The NHC has issued a hurricane warning for the eastern coast of Mexico from Punta Gruesa to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel and Cancun. A tropical storm warning is also in place for the coast of Honduras from Limon to the Honduras/Nicaragua border, including the Bay Islands. Forecasters warned Paula could bring renewed flooding to an already saturated Central America and Mexico, after weeks of devastation from heavy rain. Paula is expected to dump up to 10 inches (250 millimeters) of rainfall over northern Belize, eastern areas of the Yucatan Peninsula and parts of western and central Cuba, according to the NHC. The NHC warned the heavy rain could cause life threatening flash floods and mud slides. The NHC added that a storm surge is expected to produce coastal flooding along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and on the Bay Islands of Honduras.

paula-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.

Forecasters said tropical storm-conditions are expected to hit the Yucatan coast within the hurricane warning area later today and tonight, with hurricane conditions due to hit the region tomorrow. According to the NHC forecast, Paula is forecast to move towards the Yucatan Peninsula over the next day or two before taking a turn to the north and skirting the peninsula’s east coast. Paula is expected to intensify into a strong category 1 hurricane as it nears the Yucatan coastline.

The latest NHC forecast has Paula passing around 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the east of the of the Yucatan coast before tracking to the east and heading towards western regions of Cuba. This route would suggest coastal regions in eastern Yucatan (including the tourist resort of Cancun) could be hit by hurricane-force winds over the next day or two. Western Cuba is also expected to experience tropical storm-force winds. The NHC says Paula is expected to weaken back into a tropical storm by the end of the weak as it encounters unfavorable conditions. However, there is considerable uncertainty associated with Paula’s forecast track and intensify. Indeed, some models suggest Paula could shift further to the north and strike southern Florida. Guy Carpenter will closely monitor Paula’s progress over the next few days and update this report on October 13.

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

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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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