Early tropical storm Arthur likely to form near Florida & Bahamas

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The first tropical or subtropical storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is seen as likely to form and be officially named in the coming day or so, somewhere between Florida and the north Bahamas, with storm Arthur set to provide an early start to this year’s season.

Hurricane Irma satellite imageThe Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season formally begins from June 1st and runs to the end of November, but it is not unusual for a storm to be named pre-season and tropical storm Arthur (or subtropical storm Arthur) could be the latest to do so.

Storm Arthur, if it is named, will be an early reminder of the months to come for the reinsurance, insurance-linked securities (ILS) and catastrophe bond markets.

The National Hurricane Center explained:

A trough of low pressure located over the Straits of Florida continues to produce disorganized shower activity and gusty winds across the Florida Keys, portions of southeast Florida, and the northwestern Bahamas.

Gradual development of this system is expected, and it will likely become a tropical or subtropical storm on Saturday when it is located near the northwestern Bahamas. Later in the weekend and early next week, the system is expected to move generally northeastward over the western Atlantic.

Whether tropical storm Arthur, or subtropical storm Arthur as it may become, does form or not, the National Hurricane Center warns heavy rainfall across the Florida Keys, parts of the Florida peninsula and northern Bahamas, as well as tropical storm wind gusts that are possible across areas of the Florida Keys, southeast Florida, and the Bahamas during the next couple of days.

As of its last update, the National Hurricane Center gives an 80% chance of tropical storm formation within the next 48 hours through to the next five days.

As we explained in our last update on 2020 hurricane season forecasts for the Atlantic and United States, predictions suggest an above average level of activity ahead, with some forecasts suggesting a particularly active few months to come.

Additional forecasts will be published next week, including NOAA’s own, so we’ll update you as they become available.

Currently, the average across the forecasts we track here on Artemis, calls for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season to feature 17 named tropical storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.

The insurance, reinsurance and ILS market is acutely aware of the additional burden a major catastrophe loss could bring to the industry at this time, as well as the potential inflationary effect on losses that pandemic lockdown restrictions could cause.

It only takes one storm to make landfall and it doesn’t even have to be a major event, to drive significant losses through the insurance, reinsurance and ILS markets, not to mention the devastating human impacts any major hurricane event can result in.

All eyes will be on the tropics over the next few months and the industry will be hoping that winds are favourable, causing storms to steer out to sea and away from coasts or islands.

Track the 2020 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new information emerges.

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