This year's Atlantic hurricane season may provide the Bermuda re/insurance market a sigh of relief, as projected activity is expected to be 20 percent below both the long-range norm since 1950 and 30 percent below the recent 2009-2018 (10-year) norm, according to the Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) Consortium of University College London.
TSR, which provides long-range tropical storm forecasts worldwide, is forecasting 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes and 2 major (Category 3+) hurricanes between the months of June and November.
The main predictor for this forecast is the projected July-September trade wind speeds in the Caribbean Sea and the tropical North Atlantic Ocean.
Current forecasts suggest slightly stronger than normal trade winds as a result of continuing weak-to-moderate El Niño conditions.
"These trade winds tend to lead to increased wind shear and lessened vorticity – or “spin” – that allows cyclogenesis to occur," explained TSR.
The agency also suggested the expectation of slightly cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic during peak development months of August and September will contribute toward some suppression to tropical cyclone development during the season.
TSR currently projects that there is a 23% probability that the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index will be above-average, a 34 percent likelihood it will be near-normal, and a 43 percent chance it will be below-normal.
The agency stressed that precision of hurricane outlooks in April is often low and forecast uncertainties are amplified due to the unknown status of El Niño and atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the Atlantic in a few months’ time.
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