U.S. weather forecaster Accuweather, have issued their forecast for the 2011 U.S. Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season. Like previous forecast we’ve published (such as Klotzbach and Gray’s or Tropical Storm Risks), Accuweather predict an active season with many storms. So a similar season to 2010? Possibly, but all forecasters are suggesting to expect more landfall on the U.S. coast and in the Caribbean which reinsurers will not be pleased to hear.
Accuweather predicts 15 tropical storms, 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes will form during the 2011 Atlantic season. That’s less than last year but still well above the average for a season. They predict an early start to the season for southern states and the Caribbean, with Texas likely to see action as early as June or July. By mid to late season Accuweather predict that Florida, southern states and the Gulf states could be impacted by landfalling storms.
Accuweather highlight the Texas Gulf coast, the southern tip of Florida and the Carolinas as areas at high risk of a landfalling storm this year. The Caribbean is said to be at risk throughout this year with the western Gulf of Mexico and southern Caribbean at risk in the first half of the season and the eastern Gulf and Caribbean in the mid to late season. The U.S. Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1st June to 31st November.
Accuweather says that as the prevailing La Nina is now weakening, the season won’t be quite as active as last year. However as that pattern changes they predict a slightly cooler Atlantic which means that the area of subtropical high, which features every year and helps to guide the storms directions, will be in a different position meaning storm tracks may head towards land more often. Upper air patterns also look different to last year which means different storm tracks are likely.
Reinsurers will have a very close eye on the Atlantic this year as they come to terms with the catastrophe losses already suffered during 2011. An active hurricane season is one thing, but an active hurricane season with storms aiming at land is just what reinsurers don’t need at this time. Expect to see a lot of trading in industry-loss warranties as reinsurers desperately try to enhance their cover as storms begin to form from June onwards.