November 1st, 2010

Hurricane Tomas

Posted at 10:03 AM ET

tomas-2001Tomas developed on October 29 and strengthened to become the eleventh hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season the following day, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm swept over islands in the eastern Caribbean as a category 1 hurricane on October 30, causing significant damage and power outages in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Tomas has since weakened to a tropical storm. According to the NHC, Tomas is currently located approximately 135 miles (220 kilometers) south-southeast of Curacao and packs sustained winds of around 50 mph (85 kmph). The storm is traveling in a westerly direction and this general motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected for the next 48 hours. The NHC said tropical storm-force winds extend 175 miles (280 kilometers) from the center of the storm.

The latest NHC forecast has Tomas continuing to track across the Caribbean Sea over the next couple of days before taking a sharp turn to the north and heading in the general direction of Haiti. Tomas is expected to weaken over the next couple of days but forecasters said the storm could re-intensify to become a hurricane by the end of the week. The official NHC track sees Tomas making landfall in Haiti on November 5 as a category 1 hurricane as it moves in a north-northeasterly direction. Authorities in Haiti are closely following Tomas’s progress, with particular concern for the 1.5 million survivors of January’s 7.0Mw earthquake who are still living in tented camps vulnerable to strong winds and heavy rain. The NHC forecast also suggests Tomas could affect the Turks and Caicos Islands early next week. However, long-term predictions are subject to change and there is considerable uncertainty associated with Tomas’s forecast track and intensify. Indeed, some model projections show the storm tracking further east towards the Dominican Republic or even west towards Jamaica.

tomas-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.

Earlier, Tomas swept over islands in the eastern Caribbean as a category 1 hurricane on October 30.  Data from the NHC suggests all of Barbados was hit by tropical storm-force winds while Tomas brought hurricane-force winds to parts of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia.  Damage assessments from the islands suggest the storm’s powerful winds and heavy rain ripped roofs off buildings, toppled power lines and blocked roads with flooding and debris. According to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), Tomas has triggered a hurricane coverage insurance payout of USD12.8 million in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Preliminary calculations based on CCRIF’s modelled losses has the facility paying out USD8.5 million for Barbados, USD3.2 million for St. Lucia and USD1.1 million for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Officials said Barbados was badly hit by Tomas after several buildings and power lines were damaged by the storm’s powerful winds. Government officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said more than 100 homes lost roofs and some 1,000 people sought emergency shelter after thousands of households lost power. Widespread flooding also triggered landslides that blocked dozens of roads on the islands. Significant damage was also reported in St. Lucia, where 21 hours of heavy rain triggered flooding. St. Lucian officials also said the storm’s strong winds ripped roofs off a hospital, a school and a stadium and blew a large concrete cross from the roof of a century-old church. Officials said two people were killed in St. Lucia.

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

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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.

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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.

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