August 4th, 2011

Update: Tropical Storm Emily

Posted at 4:26 PM ET

emily-2-smallTropical Storm Emily is currently located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, approximately 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Port-au-Prince Haiti, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Emily packs sustained winds of around 50 mph (85 kmph). The storm is moving slowly on a west-northwest track after spending the early morning stationary just south of the Hispaniola Island. The NHC predicts Emily will maintain its west-northwest track for most of Thursday, and a further northwest turn and increase in forward speed will likely occur over the next 24 hours. The NHC said tropical storm-force winds extend 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the center of the storm.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, south-eastern and Central Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Guantanamo and Holguin Provinces of eastern Cuba. A tropical storm watch is now in effect for north-western Bahamas. Tropical storm conditions are currently occurring in the Dominican Republic and will likely reach Haiti where the NHC anticipates 6 to 12 inches of rain with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible, enough to cause life threatening flash floods and mud slides in mountainous areas. Up to 4 inches of rain is expected across eastern Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, while 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is expected in Puerto Rico. Storm surge warnings remain in effect for the tropical storm warning areas, notably the south coast of Hispaniola and eastern Cuba. The storm surge will raise water levels up to 4 feet above normal tide levels, producing large and dangerous waves near the coast.

emily-2-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 GC Analytics (SM) representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

According to the NHC, Emily will weaken slightly as it crosses the southern areas of Hispaniola and eastern Cuba, regaining strength as it moves over the Bahamas. Forecasts show Emily retaining its tropical storm status as it turns northwest and continues through the Caribbean Sea. On its current path, the center of the storm is expected to move across the south-western peninsula of Haiti and hit extreme eastern Cuba and south-eastern Bahamas tonight or early Friday. Emily will likely approach the north-western Bahamas early Saturday. The NHC continues to monitor Emily’s long-term storm track and predicts a northeast turn between 48 and 72 hours. Preliminary forecasts do not suggest a storm watch will be needed for Florida as models are tracking Emily well off the east coast. However, long-term forecasts are subject to potentially large errors in both track and intensity and uncertainty remains on how far west Emily will travel before turning.

Officials in the Dominican Republic reported mandatory evacuations and the relocation of more than 1,600 people from high risk zones due to the threat of flooding and mudslides. Emily produced heavy rains in south-western regions of the Dominican Republic, accumulating more than 5 inches of rainfall with an equal amount expected before tropical storm conditions subside.

Tropical Storm Emily produced flooding and damaged hundreds of homes across parts of Haiti Thursday, as the nation braced for another set-back after the January 2010 earthquake. The worst rainfall is expected to miss the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, yet officials still fear it could be enough to cause severe flooding. Officials have raised a red alert and are urging the evacuation of areas especially vulnerable to flood and mudslide. With hundreds of thousands of Haitians still living in makeshift camps, the threat of life-threatening flash floods, mud slides and strong winds could exacerbate poor living conditions. Although no deaths have been reported yet, conditions are expected to worsen during the night. Hundreds of buildings have been set up for use as shelters and more than 20 buses are on standby to transport civilians to safety in case of flooding.

Sources: National Hurricane Center, WSI, Associated Press, Reuters News, The Wall Street Journal, Agence France Presse, AIR Worldwide

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Guy Carpenter publishes 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.

Guy Carpenter compiles 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.

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