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Hurricane forecast for 2021 season raised by Colorado State

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Tropical storm and hurricane research meteorologists at Colorado State University have increased their forecast for activity during the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, with their above-average seasonal forecast now lifted to include 20 named storms and 9 hurricanes.

hurricane-dorian-cat-5-eye-175-mphThat’s an increase of 3 named tropical storms in the forecast update, as well as one additional hurricane, while the team’s forecast for major hurricanes remains fixed at 4.

These latest forecast numbers now include the five storms already named in the 2021 season, Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny and Elsa.

So far the season has not been particularly impactful, with perhaps recent storm Elsa, which briefly made hurricane status on two occasions, but then came ashore in Florida as a strong tropical storm and then moved northeast bringing wind and rains to a wide swathe of the US the most costly so far.

But still, analysts largely assume that tropical storm Elsa’s insured losses will only be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, so while it impacted a lot of people it won’t be a significant insurance or reinsurance market event.

But the forecasts remain for high levels of storm activity over the coming months, meaning insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests need to remain alert over the coming months as we move towards the seasons peak.

The CSU team said of its latest forecast update, “We have increased our forecast slightly and continue to forecast an above-average 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season. Current neutral ENSO conditions are anticipated to persist for the next several months. Sea surface temperatures averaged across most of the tropical Atlantic are now near to slightly above normal, and most of the subtropical North Atlantic remains warmer than normal.

“Elsa’s development and intensification into a hurricane in the tropical Atlantic also typically portends an active season.

“We anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.”

Adding this latest set of forecast data-points, from one of the main forecast teams tracked by the reinsurance, catastrophe bond and wider ILS industry, our Artemis average now sits at 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes (up by 1) and 4 major hurricanes, with ACE of 146.

The CSU team call for ACE of 160, which is now moving into the above-average range as well and so far the storms we’ve seen to-date have not delivered a huge amount, suggesting there is a lot more activity to come.

The continuation of forecasts for a particularly active hurricane season should serve as a reminder for reinsurance market participants, as well as the ILS and catastrophe bond investment community, that there is always a very real threat of losses as the season progresses (remembering that it only takes one landfall to create significant human and financial impacts).

Track the 2021 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new forecasts and information emerges.

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