Hurricane Dorian remains a dangerous storm offshore of the southeastern United States, but it has weakened very slightly back to Category 2 status although still poses a dangerous threat to the Carolinas where a landfall remains possible.
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 19:00 UTC, Sep 5th: Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 110 mph and much higher gusts, while the storms minimum central pressure has risen very slightly since early this morning to 958 mb.
Having intensified to Category 3 again last night, Dorian has now weakened very slightly, but remains dangerous.
Hurricane Dorian is likely to fluctuate in strength over the coming hours, while the path is expected to wobble very close to the Carolinas coasts and the NHC warns of “life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds” while meteorologists expect inches of rainfall and flooding for some coastal areas.
RMS said that Cat 2 hurricanes that made landfall in Georgia and the Carolinas caused between $2 billion and $7.6 billion in insurance and reinsurance market losses.
Having hammered the Bahamas, which has led to some expectations of an insurance and reinsurance market loss of more than a billion, we understand, hurricane Dorian turned north and skirted the Florida coast making a beeline for Georgia and the Carolinas.
The greatest threat of a landfall now appears to be to North Carolina, although Dorian’s eye will come perilously close to Georgia and South Carolina as well over the next day.
Any wobble onshore or a full landfall and time onshore will ultimately raise the potential insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) market impact significantly.
So, 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.
Hurricane Dorian is expected to bring hurricane force wind conditions to the coastline of the Carolinas, while a storm surge of up to 8 feet is also forecast for certain areas and rainfall totals of up to a foot or more which will cause dangerous flooding.
Weather forecasts suggest wind gusts of up to 100 mph could be felt on the immediate coastline in some areas, with gusts of up to 80 mph a little further inland, sufficient for some property damage to occur.
How significant any damage is to the Georgia and Carolinas coasts will depend on how close to landfall hurricane Dorian’s eye comes.
With the storm forecast to get closest to a landfall in North Carolina, with many forecast models showing the eye definitely moving over land, the largest concentration of insured losses may come in this area, if that scenario plays out.
So, the industry is not out of the woods yet.
But it’s important to remember the sheer devastation that has already occurred widely in the Bahamas as well.
The Bahamas received a direct hit from hurricane Dorian and islands have been devastated, with massive property damage reported and a significant local insurance market loss likely, that global reinsurance capital is likely 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.
But now all eyes are on the U.S. southeastern states over the next 24 hours or so, after which Hurricane Dorian is expected to undergo extratropical transition into a massive post-tropical storm, that could sustain hurricane force winds right up into Newfoundland.
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 now forecast, but still, the coming days or so is vital, as hurricane Dorian travels along the U.S. coastline and market participants will need to keep a close watch on the storm as it progresses north.
Below is the latest intensity model output from TropicalTidbits.com
Below are the latest GFS ensemble hurricane forecast model tracks for Dorian, from TropicalTidbits.com.
NOAA’s latest full update on hurricane Dorian is below:
At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the center of Hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 32.8 North, longitude 78.9 West. Dorian is moving toward the north-northeast near 8 mph (13 km/h). A turn toward the northeast is anticipated by tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is forecast on Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Dorian will continue to move close to the coast of South Carolina this afternoon, and then move near or over the coast of North Carolina tonight and Friday. The center should move to the southeast of extreme southeastern New England Friday night and Saturday morning, and approach Nova Scotia later on Saturday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Slow weakening is expected during the next few days. However, Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as the center moves near the coasts of South and North Carolina.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). The Weatherflow station at Winyah Bay, South Carolina, recently reported sustained winds of 77 mph (124 km/h) and a wind gust of 85 mph (137 km/h). A buoy operated by the Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program 15 miles northeast of the entrance to Charleston Harbor recently reported a wind gust of 92 mph (148 km/h).
The minimum central pressure based on Hurricane Hunter aircraft and buoy data is 958 mb (28.29 inches). NOAA buoy 41004 reported a minimum pressure of 959.4 mb (28.33 inches) as the eye passed over it.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Hurricane conditions are now occuring along portions of the South Carolina coast northeast of Charleston and should continue for the next several hours. Tropical storm conditions are currently affecting other portions of the South Carolina coast.
Tropical storm conditions are spreading along the coast of North Carolina, and hurricane conditions are expected to begin during the next several hours.
Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Tropical Storm Warning area in the Mid-Atlantic states by Friday.
Tropical storm conditions are possible over portions of southeastern Massachusetts by late Friday or early Saturday.
South Santee River SC to Duck NC, including Pamlico and Albemarle
Sounds and the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers…4 to 7 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…6 to 12 inches, isolated 15 inches
Far southeast Virginia…3 to 8 inches
Extreme southeastern New England…2 to 4 inches
This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.
TORNADOES: Tornadoes are possible through this afternoon across eastern North Carolina and the upper South Carolina coast. The tornado threat will continue tonight across eastern North Carolina into southeast Virginia. Several tornadoes have been reported across portions of eastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina.
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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