Current hurricane predictions indicate elevated storm activity in the North Atlantic basin. These include a forecast from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center of six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes, compared to averages of six and two, respectively.
Factors in play include sea-surface temperatures trending above normal in the Gulf and Atlantic Main Development Region. Additionally, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting neutral to possibly weak La Niña conditions for the 2020 season. These two factors alone show the potential for a comparatively higher number of storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic basin for 2020. Indeed, activity has been elevated so far, with the third named storm (Cristobal) of the season having materialized.
Landfalls are, of course, the key determinant for the sector, and they depend on surrounding weather systems in play at the time of a hurricane. The resulting steering currents are not predictable with meaningful skill beyond a seven to 10 day timeframe. For the Continental United States, the long-term ratio of landfalls to basin counts is around 23 percent. This ratio nevertheless varies between 0 to 86 percent on an annual basis, with considerable volatility from year to year (see chart below).
Guy Carpenter is well placed to advise clients on responding to weather and natural catastrophe risks, and has multiple in-house experts in atmospheric and climate science across the globe.