Bermuda faces its first significant hurricane threat in the shape of hurricane Paulette which is expected to strike this morning and could see its eyewall affecting the island for a number of hours.
Based on the forecasts Bermuda had been expecting to see hurricane force winds as hurricane Paulette passed nearby, but a direct hit now looks likely with the eye of the hurricane coming very close to the archipelago.
As a home to insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) market activity and sitting directly in a hurricane prone part of the Atlantic Bermuda is exceptionally well-prepared.
But we’d urge our friends, colleagues and contacts located there to watch Paulette closely, as some forecast models suggest a relatively intense hurricane of Category 2 or higher by the time the storm passes Bermuda and Paulette is intensifying on approach.
Hurricane Paulette remains Category 1 with 90 mph sustained winds just reported by a hurricane hunter aircraft, but is still expected to intensify further after it moves away from Bermuda later today.
The Bermuda Weather Service reported a wind gust of 117 mph (189 km/h), measured at the Marine Operations Center
(MAROPS), which is elevated at 290 ft above sea level.
The turn Paulette is going to make, to the north and then northeast, could mean Bermuda feels the effects of hurricane Paulette for longer than had the storm been passing straight by.
The graphic below shows the earliest expected arrival time of tropical storm force winds from hurricane Paulette and the current expectation that there is a strong possibility that Bermuda will sit within the hurricane force wind swathe of the storm.
Hurricane Paulette’s eyewall is now beginning to reach Bermuda and the island is in for some hours of strong winds and surge.
In addition, the below image taken from TropicalTidbits.com shows forecast model runs for the potential intensity of hurricane Paulette, which currently suggest a Category 1 hurricane at least by the time the storm reaches Bermuda. If intensification is faster Paulette could be Cat 2 or higher it seems.
As the first hurricane threat to Bermuda of the 2020 season, we wish our our insurance, reinsurance and ILS colleagues in Bermuda well and hope the damage from Paulette is not significant.
The National Hurricane Center (NYC) currently warns, “Tropical storm conditions are occuring on Bermuda now, and
winds will steadily increase this morning. Hurricane conditions are expected to each Bermuda during the next 2 to 3 hours and will continue into early afternoon.
“A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding on Bermuda in areas of onshore winds.
Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.
“Paulette will bring periods of heavy rain to Bermuda through today, with rainfall of 3 to 6 inches expected.”