I.I.I. Non-Resident Scholar Offers First Look At 2019’s Hurricane Season

April Report Foresees Two Major Hurricanes, Matching 2018’s Number


For immediate release
New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org

New York, April 4, 2019—A slightly below-average level of activity is envisioned for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, according to a forecast released today by Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a non-resident scholar at the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Dr. Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University (CSU), and his team are anticipating 13 named storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes in 2019 whereas a typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are defined as Category 3, 4, and 5 storms, where wind speeds reach at least 111 miles per hour. The Atlantic hurricane begins on June 1 and continues through Nov. 30.

“Major hurricanes have struck regardless of whether a year is above, below or average, and therefore we encourage coastal residents to prepare,” said Sean Kevelighan, the I.I.I.’s CEO. “For one, make sure you have insurance; especially for homeowners, you need coverage for both wind and flooding. Remember, these are two different policies, as flood is primarily offered via the National Flood Insurance Program. Secondly, take steps to ensure your home is fortified for resilience, such as having roof tie-downs and a good drainage system. And, finally, take inventory of your belongings as well as map out a safe evacuation route. Americans far too often bet on the storm not hitting them, but the unfortunate truth lies in historical data which shows virtually every mile of our Gulf and Eastern coastlands have been hit at one point or another.”

“We currently anticipate an El Niño event to persist. Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are also cooler than normal. Those add up to our estimate for a slightly below-average season. But that does not mean the threat of a severe storm is diminished. A major hurricane landfall can happen in any season,” Dr. Klotzbach stated.

Fifteen named storms formed during 2018’s Atlantic hurricane season, and eight of them became hurricanes. Two of the eight—Florence and Michael—turned into major hurricanes. Hurricane Florence reached Category 4 wind speeds but was a Category 1 storm, with sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, when Florence made landfall in North Carolina in September. Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 storm upon striking the Florida Panhandle’s coastline in October. Historical insured losses from hurricanes continue to rise in the U.S., particularly when storms impact densely populated communities.

Dr. Klotzbach’s press contact at CSU is Anne Manning (Phone: 970-491-7099, email: anne.manning@colostate.edu). The I.I.I. also has subject matter experts who can speak with reporters about hurricane preparedness and insurance coverage issues. Those interviews can be arranged through Michael Barry, the I.I.I.’s Head of Media and Public Affairs, at either 917-923-8245 or michaelb@iii.org.


The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its YouTube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.


Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org

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