Danny reaches Cat 2 hurricane strength in Atlantic, likely to weaken

by Artemis on August 19, 2015

The fourth named storm of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season formed late yesterday in the Atlantic. In this slow year for tropical development in the Atlantic and Caribbean region, Danny is currently forecast to reach as much as Category 2 hurricane strength on approach to the Caribbean islands.

The Atlantic tropics have again been remarkably quiet in 2015, with the strong El Niño conditions in the Pacific one of the key drivers of lower Atlantic tropical activity.

The tracking map, intensity and forecast models images further down this article are updated automatically as the latest data is made available by the NOAA and the forecasting groups.

Update 21st August 2015, 15:30 BST, 10:30 ET: Hurricane Danny has strengthened again, becoming the Category 2 hurricane that had been expected. With sustained winds of 105mph and stronger gusts Danny continues to move towards the Caribbean leeward islands.

Danny remains a very small hurricane, with hurricane force winds only extending 15 miles from the center. There remains considerable uncertainty in how long Danny will maintain strength after it reaches the Caribbean islands and interacts with land, due to the hurricanes small size. There is also uncertainty in the track for next week. Weakening is forecast for Danny, which could save the islands from a more severe hit.

The latest from the NHC is below:

Latest information as of: 3:00 PM UTC, Fri Aug 21 2015
Location: 930 mi (1495 km) E of The Leeward Islands
Coordinates: 14.0 N, 48.2 W
Winds: 105 mph (91 knots)
Pressure: 28.82 inches (976 mb)
Moving: WNW at 10 mph

== Full advisory text ============================

…danny strengthens into a category 2 hurricane…

summary of 1100 AM AST, 1500 UTC, information
location, 14.0N 48.2W
about 930 mi (1495 km) E of the leeward islands
maximum sustained winds, 105 mph (165 km/h)
present movement, WNW or 290 degrees at 10 mph (17 km/h)
minimum central pressure, 976 mb (28.82 inches)

watches and warnings
there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

interests in the leeward islands should monitor the progress of

discussion and 48-hour outlook
at 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of hurricane danny was located
near latitude 14.0 north, longitude 48.2 west. danny is moving
toward the west-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this motion is
expected to continue through tonight. a turn toward the west is
expected on saturday or saturday night.

maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 mph (165 km/h)
with higher gusts. danny is about to encounter a less conducive
environment, and weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. a
NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate danny
late this afternoon.

danny remains a tiny hurricane. hurricane force winds extend
outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical storm
force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km).

the estimated minimum central pressure is 976 mb (28.82 inches).

However, Danny, while a small tropical storm currently, could be a reminder for the insurance and reinsurance industry that even in a quiet Atlantic year a single hurricane could be enough to turn all eyes towards the tropics for a few days. In fact with a catastrophe bond also exposed, the CCRIF transaction, ILS eyes could be on Danny’s intensification over the next few days.

Tropical storm Danny is currently packing 50mph sustained winds, with gusts of 65mph or greater, according to the latest forecast. Danny is making its way towards the Caribbean Windward and Leeward islands, with minimal central pressure of 1000mb and further intensification forecast in the latest NHC update.

Current location of tropical storm Danny:

Tropical storm Danny (soon to be hurricane Danny) tracking map and forecast path

Tropical storm Danny (soon to be hurricane Danny) tracking map and forecast path (from the NHC)

The forecast models suggest that Danny will soon become a hurricane, likely by or on Thursday, and could intensify up to a Category 2 hurricane, which would see Danny with sustained winds of between 96mph and 100mph as it approaches the Caribbean.

Forecast intensity for tropical storm Danny:

Tropical storm Danny (soon to be hurricane Danny) forecast path and intensity

Tropical storm Danny (soon to be hurricane Danny) forecast path and intensity (from Weather Underground)

The forecast models all seem to take Danny slightly towards the northern islands after which the models begin to diverge, with some taking Danny across the top of the Caribbean towards Florida, others suggesting a more direct path towards the U.S. east coast and still more showing a recurve out into the open Atlantic.

There is some forecast model uncertainty as a result. The models will likely gain more certainty in the coming days and the level of interaction with the Caribbean Leeward or Windward islands will also affect the eventual path hurricane Danny takes.

Forecast models for tropical storm Danny:

Tropical storm Danny (soon to be hurricane Danny) forecast models

Tropical storm Danny (soon to be hurricane Danny) forecast models

Currently the forecast models are showing tropical storm Danny weakening a little on approach to the Caribbean islands, which meteorologists are putting down to expected dry air conditions, a little higher wind shear and sea surface temperatures which are still not as high as normal in the Atlantic. However, again there is uncertainty here about how long Danny will be able to maintain hurricane intensity.

So at this time it’s a difficult tropical storm (or hurricane) to forecast for the meteorologist community, with some uncertainty in both forecast path and intensity.

It’s certainly a storm worth watching for the insurance, reinsurance and even catastrophe bond market, with a number of Caribbean island members of the CCRIF SPC in Danny’s path. The CCRIF SPC has a catastrophe bond in-force, World Bank – CCRIF 2014-1, which provides it with $30m of capital markets backed reinsurance for hurricanes and earthquakes on a parametric and modelled loss basis.

Any impact to insurance, reinsurance or indeed cat bonds and collateralized covers will be very dependent on Danny maintaining its hurricane strength. With the models uncertain that it will do so, at the moment it does not seem like Danny will be an extremely severe threat.

However a threat it is and certainly one to keep an eye on over at our 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season page.

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