Beware uncertainty in hurricane season forecasts: Guy Carpenter

by Artemis on June 30, 2014

One of the world’s leading global risk and reinsurance broking specialists, Guy Carpenter (GC), has warned that despite 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecasts predicting lower than average activity, U.S. hurricane impacts remain a possibility.

The report provided by Guy Carpenter looks at the key factors that influence Atlantic hurricane season activity and severity, and this year’s outlook also explains that although predictive and historical models do provide guidance, landfalls are a constant possibility and preparation is key for homeowners and (re)insurers.

According to the report, seasonal outlook providers have determined that 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season activity is expected to be near or below average, with lower activity in the Atlantic Basin and U.S. landfalls unpredictable with El Nino development and strength still uncertain.

However, experts have emphasized the uncertainty in these below average estimates, highlighted by a statement from James Waller, PhD, Research Meteorologist for GC Analytics, he said; “The risk of a landfalling hurricane is a serious threat for any tropical season, regardless of seasonal outlooks for the Atlantic Basin at large,” adding, “While there is indeed a weak correlation between hurricane counts in the Atlantic Basin and the number of U.S. landfalls, statistical significance is the subject of some debate in the scientific community.”

The report also details the expected El Nino event in the Pacific, cooler than average sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) in areas of the Atlantic but warmer than average SST’s near the south east U.S. coast, stating that while these phenomena; “Imply tropical cyclone development may be suppressed for much of the Atlantic, disturbances adjacent to the U.S. mainland and northern Caribbean could find conditions that enable development into hurricanes.”

So while GC’s report predicts a fairly quiet season, clearly there is some uncertainty surrounding the strength of El Nino, its potential effect on SSTs and the resulting formation, frequency and ultimately severity of any Atlantic hurricanes.

Waller commented; “As history has shown more than once, proper preparation is necessary regardless of basin activity. Preparation for hurricane impacts and the resulting disruption to infrastructure should be an ongoing and essential process for homeowners, businesses, government agencies and the (re)insurance industry.”

It’s worth noting that the first real Atlantic tropical disturbance of the season has formed off the coast of the Carolina’s, an area where SST’s are sufficiently warm for development to occur. The NOAA has given this disturbance a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression.

You can track the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, compare forecasts and monitor the progress of storms as they develop here on Artemis. Visit and bookmark our 2014 Atlantic hurricane season page.

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