Category Archives: Hurricanes

Alex Strengthens

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that a dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above ground level along the immediate coast near and to the north of where the center of Alex makes landfall.

The warning came as the NHC said that Alex — the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season — is moving faster to the north-northwest and is likely to become a hurricane later today:

The surge could penetrate inland as far as several miles from the shore with depth generally decreasing as the water moves inland. Near the coast†¦the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.†

Earlier this morning, the NHC said Alex was about 380 miles south east of Brownsville, Texas and moving NNW at 12 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 70 miles per hour.

The NHC also said Alex is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches over portions of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas during the next few days and these rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

A glance at the latest track for Alex looks a lot like 2008’s Hurricane Dolly that made landfall as a Category 1 storm in extreme southern Texas in July of that year.

Dolly caused significant wind and flood damage and resulted in federal disaster declarations in 15 Texas counties. ISO’s Property Claim Services unit put the insured losses from Dolly at $525 million in 2008 dollars.

The costliest hurricane to hit Texas in recent years was Hurricane Ike in 2008. Insured property damage caused by Ike in Texas totaled $9.8 billion, according to ISO. Check out the I.I.I. Texas hurricane fact file for more information.

Hurricane Season Opener

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season gets underway today and by all accounts it’s going to be a busy one and perhaps the most active since record-breaking 2005. Tomorrow Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project team will issue its latest forecast.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference last week to Reuters, William Gray, founder of the CSU storm research team said CSU will be upping its forecast for the season.

Back in April, CSU called for 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, four of which were expected to be major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes. It put the probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall at about 130 percent of the long-period average.

In its latest seasonal outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said this hurricane season could be one of the most active on record and underscores the importance of having a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

NOAA said there is a 70 percent chance of 14 to 23 named storms, including eight to 14 hurricanes, of which three to seven could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5; winds of at least 111 mph).

NOAA and CSU are not alone in predicting above-average activity this season. WSI (Weather Services International Corp), London-based consortium Tropical Storm Risk and Accuweather.com have all pointed to hurricane activity being well above norm in 2010.

WSI in particular, noted that the Northeast United States faces an increased risk of hurricane landfall this season.

Whether the forecasts call for below- above- or just average seasons and whether or not their estimates prove accurate, the fact is that for coastal residents hurricanes are a constant threat. Policyholders that take the time to prepare now will have the best chance of recovering from a hurricane or any other disaster. Check out the I.I.I. video on making your home more hurricane resistant.

Hurricane Forecast Warns of East Coast Risk

The Northeast United States faces an increased risk of hurricane landfall this season, according to the latest 2010 tropical forecast from WSI (Weather Services International) Corp. The warning came as WSI said it expects the 2010 hurricane season will be the most active since record-breaking 2005.

WSI says the coastline from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Maine is under a significantly increased threat of a hurricane this season, according to its statistical landfall forecast model. In a press release WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford is quoted as saying:

Our model suggests that the threat to the Northeast coast this season is on par with that in Florida and the Gulf coast states.†

Homeowners and businessowners in the Northeast would be wise to take note. Despite never making U.S. landfall and remaining hundreds of miles out at sea, Hurricane Bill, the first Atlantic hurricane of 2009, ran parallel to the East coast from the Outer Banks of North Carolina all the way up to New England and claimed the lives of two.

It’s important to recognize that while exposure to windstorms and high property values combine to make Florida the state with the highest potential for property losses, New York State is second highest, according to risk modeling company AIR Worldwide.

A recent study by AIR Worldwide put the value of residential and commercial coastal property in New York at $2.4 trillion, after Florida with $2.5 trillion. Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts were other East Coast states where insured coastal property values exceeded 50 percent of the state’s total insured property values.

The last major hurricane to devastate the Northeast was the 1938 Long Island Express, which crossed Long Island and moved into New England, resulting in approximately 600 fatalities. Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on hurricanes.