Tropical Storm Risk, the climatological research group backed by Aon Benfield, RSA and Crawford & Company, has published their final pre-season forecast of activity for the forthcoming 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. Back in April we wrote about their earlier forecast which suggested activity in the Atlantic in 2012 would be below average, today their latest forecast suggests that the amount of tropical storm and hurricane activity will be nearer to the long term norms.
In their mid-April forecast TSR said they expected 12.5 tropical storms, 5.6 would become hurricanes and 2.6 would become intense hurricanes. Today’s pre-season forecast has raised those numbers slightly, with TSR now forecasting 13 tropical storms, 6 of which will develop into hurricanes and three into intense hurricanes. The long term norms are 11, 6 and 3, meaning TSR’s forecast is actual slightly above norms.
To date all forecasters have been predicting below average hurricane seasons so it’s interesting and of note for our markets that this forecast has been increased.
Of particular note to the reinsurance and catastrophe bond sector should be the fact that TSR are predicting a slightly above average chance of U.S. landfalling hurricanes. They predict four tropical storm strikes on the U.S. with two of those being hurricanes, the long term norm is 3 and 1.5.
Professor Mark Saunders at Tropical Storm Risk notes that there is a lot of uncertainty in the forecasts this year and said: “At present the main climate indicators point to the 2012 hurricane season being close to norm. However, uncertainties remain and we are overdue US landfalling hurricane strikes. Only one hurricane (Irene) has struck the US in the last 3 years and no major hurricane has struck the US since Wilma in 2005. On average 4 or 5 landfalling hurricanes would strike the US in 3 years and 4 major hurricanes would strike over 6 years. Nature has a habit of correcting herself.”
You can keep up to date with the hurricane season as it develops on our 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season page and we’ll bring you news of other key forecasts as they are released.