The United Kingdom’s weather forecaster the Met Office, the national meteorological service for the UK, has joined calls for an above average level of hurricane activity to occur during the 2020 Atlantic tropical storm season with its long-range forecast for the season ahead.
The UK Met Office has forecast 13 named tropical storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes will form during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
That’s one storm above the long-term average for named storms, one for hurricanes and right on the average with major hurricanes.
In terms of accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), a good indicator of the energy generated by storms and so a signal for the general intensity of the season, the UK Met Office calls for an ACE index of 110, above the long-term average of 103.
The forecast is actually the lowest to have been published so far, among the forecasters we track. But in again calling for above average levels of activity it serves as another reminder of the hurricane season ahead for the insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) community.
The UK Met Office forecasts in ranges, like so many others, so the full forecast is 9 to 17 named tropical storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 4 major hurricanes, but the mid-points are delivered with 70% confidence according to the forecaster.
With the season having already begun thanks to early tropical storm Arthur, which is not included in the Met office’s numbers, the reinsurance and ILS community have had an early reminder of what is ahead.
While higher rates being seen at Florida reinsurance renewals appear more risk commensurate at this time, rates alone cannot compensate for the huge losses that could be delivered by any landfall from a major hurricane.
Making this 2020 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season one to watch, given every forecaster so far has called for activity levels to be above average and the majority have called for well-above average levels of storm activity through the months ahead.
Adding the UK Met Office’s 2020 Atlantic tropical storm forecast to those we track gives us a new Artemis average of 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, still well above the averages (although the Met Office forecasts has dropped the number of hurricanes by one).
Of course we need to remember that number of storms alone is not an indicator of a threat to reinsurance, catastrophe bond and ILS interests, but that it only takes one storm to cause significant damage and even a weaker storm can cause deadly impacts to lives and livelihoods.
Track the 2020 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new information emerges.