NEW YORK, September 6, 2017 — Hurricane Irma made landfall on several of the northern Leeward Islands over the past 24 hours and is now tracking northwestward towards Puerto Rico. It also is looking more likely to make landfall along the Florida coast or the Southeast U.S. as a major hurricane—the second major storm to hit the United States in about two weeks. Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) subject matter experts are available to assist reporters with questions on insurance coverage, the insurance industry’s disaster response and how this storm differs from Harvey.
“Irma is currently one of the strongest Atlantic storms on record, packing maximum sustained winds of 185 mph. The only hurricane in the Atlantic that has been stronger than Irma was Hurricane Allen in 1980,” said Dr. Philip J. Klotzbach, meteorologist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU) and a nonresident scholar with the I.I.I. “Low vertical wind shear (the change in wind direction with the height of the atmosphere) and warmer than normal sea surface temperatures were the perfect recipe for this extraordinarily strong storm,” he noted.
“It is likely this storm will be more of a wind event than a flood event,” said I.I.I. CEO Sean Kevelighan. “We urge anyone in the path of the storm to listen to local authorities, while also doing what is needed to prepare, such as reinforcing windows with shutters and taking a home inventory, if time permits. If you have to evacuate, bring your financial documents, including your insurance policy, so you can start the claims process once the storm has passed,” said Kevelighan. “Keep in mind, the more prepared you are, the greater the potential to be more resilient and withstand damage.”