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25 June 2014News

Guy Carp: hurricane season may throw up surprises

Despite suggestions that the US hurricane season will be quieter than normal, Guy Carpenter has released a new report cautioning against assumptions and a lack of preparedness.

The report stated that while the seasonal outlook suggests a quiet hurricane season, influenced by an active El Nino – which tends to reduce hurricane activity in the North Atlantic – and lower than the average sea surface temperatures, the year might yet throw up some surprises.

Guy Carpenter Analytics research meteorologist, James Waller cautions against taking assumptions for granted. "The risk of a landfalling hurricane is a serious threat for any tropical season, regardless of seasonal outlooks for the Atlantic Basin at large."

“While there is indeed a weak correlation between hurricane counts in the Atlantic Basin and the number of US landfalls, statistical significance is the subject of some debate in the scientific community. Warmer waters in the West Atlantic and Caribbean coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the strength and placement of the impending El Niño, warrant a moment of pause for the 2014 season."

While an active El Nino is predicted, Guy Carpenter warned that “the existence of an El Niño during a hurricane season does not preclude the potential for a damaging hurricane season”, citing the 2004 hurricane season (when El Nino was active) as a case in point.

The report also says that lower than average sea surface temperatures will not necessarily preclude storm activity and that re/insurers should prepare for the possibility of landfalls.

"As history has shown more than once, proper preparation is necessary regardless of basin activity," says Waller. "Preparation for hurricane impacts and the resulting disruption to infrastructure should be an ongoing and essential process for homeowners, businesses, government agencies and the (re)insurance industry.”

“We continuously emphasize that hurricane landfalls are influenced by large-scale weather circulation at the time of the event, which can surprise even the world's best forecasters. The landfall of one or two hurricanes cannot be ruled out for any season, regardless of predictive models."