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Hurricane Dorian forecast for possible U.S. landfall in Carolinas


Hurricane Dorian is set to bring much of the United States southeastern coastline the potential for “life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds” as it travels north, with the Carolinas now facing the potential for a landfall from the eye.

Update, Sep 6th: Hurricane Dorian has weakened slightly but remains a Category 1 hurricane and continues to lash the coast of the Carolinas as it heads northwards. Our latest here.

Last update to this article at 15:00 UTC, Sep 4th: Having finally moved clear of the Bahamas, hurricane Dorian has begun its slow track north along the Florida coast, before it will then pass Georgia, South Carolina and perhaps come its closest to landfall in North Carolina, according to recent forecast model runs.

Hurricane Dorian is still a dangerous strong Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of 105 mph and higher gusts. The minimum central pressure has risen slightly to 964 mb, while hurricane force winds extend outwards as much as 70 miles and tropical storm force winds 175 miles from the center, since Dorian has grown significantly in size.

Notable in the latest update is that the NHC says the eye of hurricane Dorian may “move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday,” at which stage the storm forecast is still for 90 mph to 100 mph sustained winds.

Hurricane Dorian forecast path towards Florida

The Bahamas islands that received a direct hit from hurricane Dorian have been devastated, with massive property damage reported and a significant local insurance market loss likely, that global reinsurance capital may need to assist with.

Insurance and reinsurance market losses of up to $1.3 billion have been experienced with previous strong hurricanes that hit Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, it seems likely hurricane Dorian could eclipse that total given the devastation experienced in the last two days.

For the U.S. coastline, right now tropical storm force winds are being experienced in parts of Florida, but as hurricane Dorian tracks north it is still expected to hug the coast raising the potential of stronger winds coming onshore and a storm surge occurring.

As said repeatedly with this storm, any wobble west onto shore or a full landfall could raise the potential insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) market impact significantly.

Even if Dorian remains just offshore, some sources are suggesting we could still see a low-single digit billions market loss from the hurricane, just from wind and surge damage along its track. That figure would rise with every mile closer to shore the eye of hurricane Dorian comes and any landfall by the eye could raise it significantly.

A close brush with the Carolinas could raise the industry loss stakes significantly, so the market needs to continue watching hurricane Dorian over the next day or so.

So, the market is not yet out of the woods with hurricane Dorian, although still the outlook is much more favourable than it was last week.

Hence, risks still exist for the insurance, reinsurance, insurance-linked securities (ILS) and catastrophe bond markets, and the ILS market cannot discount suffering some losses from Dorian, as we explained in more detail yesterday.

A slight westward shift in the track could still result in damages rising into double-digit billions, with some resulting reinsurance and ILS market impacts. The chance of a landfall somewhere on the passage north remains a possibility that cannot be discounted yet.

Staying completely off the coast will mean a much smaller insurance sector loss, with reinsurance and ILS impacts significantly lower.

A gradual weakening is forecast, but still, the coming days remain key, as hurricane Dorian travels northwards and market participants will need to keep a close watch on hurricane Dorian as it progresses north.

Below is the latest intensity model output from

Tropical storm or hurricane Dorian intensity forecast

Below are the latest GFS ensemble hurricane forecast model tracks for Dorian, from

Tropical storm or hurricane Dorian forecast model tracks

NOAA’s latest full update on hurricane Dorian is below:

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 29.8 North, longitude 79.7 West. Dorian is moving toward the north-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the north is expected tonight, followed by a turn toward the northeast on Thursday. On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move parallel to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through
tonight. The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph (165 km/h) with higher gusts. A slow weakening is expected during the next few days. However, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during this time.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). NOAA buoy 41008, located off the Georgia coast, recently reported sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) and a wind gust of 47 mph (76 km/h).

The minimum central pressure just reported by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 964 mb (28.47 inches).

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are currently affecting portions of the northeastern coast of Florida, and should begin along the Georgia coast later this morning.

Tropical storm conditions will begin within the Hurricane Warning area in the Carolinas later today, with hurricane conditions by late tonight and Thursday.

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

Isle of Palms to Myrtle Beach SC…5 to 8 ft
Savannah River to Isle of Palms SC…4 to 7 ft
Myrtle Beach SC to Cape Lookout NC…4 to 7 ft
Cape Lookout NC to Duck NC, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds and the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers…4 to 6 ft
Volusia/Brevard County Line FL to Savannah River…3 to 5 ft
North of Port Canaveral FL to Volusia/Brevard County Line FL…2 to 4 ft
Duck NC to Poquoson VA, including Hampton Roads…2 to 4 ft

RAINFALL: Dorian is expected to produce the following rainfall totals through Friday:

Coastal Carolinas…5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches.

Atlantic Coast from Daytona Beach, Florida to the Georgia-South Carolina border…3 to 6 inches, with isolated 9 inches near the Georgia coast.

Southeast Virginia…3 to 6 inches.

This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.

SURF: Large swells will affect the northwestern Bahamas, and the entire southeastern United States coast from Florida through North Carolina during the next several days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

TORNADOES: A tornado or two are possible along the immediate coast of Georgia this afternoon. Isolated tornadoes are possible from this evening through Thursday across the coastal Carolinas.

We will update you on hurricane Dorian as it proceeds and the threat it could pose to global insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests.

You can always visit our 2019 Atlantic hurricane season page for the latest and we will update you as new information is reported to us.

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