Sandy forecast to intensify to hurricane status, hit Jamaica & Cuba

by Artemis on October 23, 2012

Our latest update on hurricane Sandy can be found here. Tropical storm Sandy is the 18th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season, a season which has now surpassed any of the forecasts for the number of storms which would form in the year. Despite this activity in storm formation, damages and impact from tropical storms has been minimal in 2012. Sandy, forecast to become a hurricane within the next 24 hours, has the potential to deliver a dangerous blow as we move closer to the end of the season.

Currently, tropical storm Sandy is situated approximately 250 miles to the south of Jamaica in the western Caribbean sea. The forecast shows Sandy moving steadily northwards towards Jamaica, attaining hurricane strength before Sandy reaches the island and then passing straight over Jamaica as a Category 1 hurricane before moving on towards Cuba.

Tropical storm Sandy has maximum sustained winds of 50mph at the moment with strengthening expected. The centre of Sandy should reach Jamaica on Wednesday while tropical storm force winds will reach Jamaica later tonight.

There is some uncertainty regarding just how strong a hurricane Sandy could become by the time the storm reaches Jamaica, with some forecasters suggesting intensification could be rapid. There is also a degree of uncertainty over how strong Sandy will be by the time the storm then reaches Cuba.

Beyond Cuba uncertainty rises yet again with the forecast models showing Sandy as a strong tropical storm moving towards the Bahamas. There is every possibility that if the crossing of Jamaica and Cuba does not weaken Sandy significantly the storm could then recover to hurricane strength again before crossing those islands.

Given the amount of landmass that Sandy will have to negotiate as a tropical storm or hurricane there is some uncertainty over the eventual track once the storm emerges back into the Atlantic. There is a small chance of a recurve towards the U.S., but the majority of forecasts show Sandy weakening as it moves over cooler Atlantic waters.

Insurers and reinsurers are advised to watch the development of tropical storm Sandy as it moves towards Jamaica. The forecast models are expected to become more certain as the track develops. The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) will be exposed to potential triggering on both Jamaica and the Bahamas (Cuba is not a member) should Sandy develop into a stronger hurricane. While at the moment that looks unlikely it cannot as yet be ruled out.

You can see the current position and forecast track of tropical storm Sandy below:

Tropical storm (or hurricane) Sandy position and forecast path

Tropical storm (soon to be hurricane) Sandy position and forecast path

We’ll keep you informed on Sandy’s progress and you can view an interactive tracking map on our 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season page.

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