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Normal Atlantic hurricane season predicted

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Hurricanes: Peak season is approaching (File image)

Acrisure Re, the reinsurance division of global re/insurance broker and fintech platform Acrisure, has forecast a close to normal hurricane season – but warns there is higher uncertainty in 2023 than in most years due to both favourable and unfavourable conditions.

Delivering its 2023 Pre-season Hurricane Outlook, Acrisure concluded: “Overall, statistical and dynamical models, as well as a review of the key variables, are in agreement for a near average hurricane season for 2023.

“However, uncertainty is higher than normal with a below or above average season still a possibility.”

And it warned: “As always, despite the forecast, the hurricane season can be defined by one storm.”

The report added: “It is possible we will see more activity in the eastern and central Atlantic this year, where storms that form generally recurve out to sea, with below normal activity in the western Atlantic and Caribbean due to stronger wind shear expected.”

Acrisure Re’s analytics team examined the following key variables to create a qualitative overview of the likely conditions this summer:

• Forecasted Atlantic sea surface temperature is warmer than last year, especially in the main development region. Nearly the entire Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico are forecasted to be above normal, suggesting more hurricane activity.

• The El Niño Southern Oscillation is predicted to be in a moderate to strong El Nino phase, which could lead to strong vertical wind shear and suppressed hurricane activity.

• Positive ENSO conditions are associated with a higher proportion of storms making landfall for Gulf clusters in Acrisure Re’s forecast model, despite lower frequency of storms.

• Past analogue years of 1978 and 1993 would indicate Quasi-Biennial Oscillation is trending toward a negative anomaly but should remain positive for most of the season. Positive QBO values are often associated with more Cape Verde storms forming in the deep tropics.

• Conditions in the Sahel region of Africa appear to be very close to average. This means dust is unlikely to play a major role in suppressing hurricane activity.

The report said: “There have been very few instances of hurricane seasons with these conditions, so there are not many analogous seasons to look at for guidance.

“It is possible one of these forces dominates the other and we could have an above or below average season. However, the most likely outcome is for a near-normal season.”

Simon Hedley, CEO of Acrisure Re, said: “After an extended period of above average hurricane season predictions, it is somewhat relieving to see the conditions swaying back toward normal.

“However, uncertainty is higher than normal and a below or above average hurricane season is still a possibility. Our expert and experienced analytics team will continue to monitor the models to ensure our brokers advise clients accordingly on property coverage.”

Ming Li, global head of catastrophe modelling, Acrisure Re, said: “Our statistical and dynamic models, as well as our review of key variables, suggest a near average hurricane season for 2023.

“However, despite the forecast, the hurricane season can be defined by one storm. There is a level of uncertainty given the competing nature of the predicted Atlantic and Pacific SST (sea surface temperature) conditions, the rate of development of El Niño and the recent lack of forecast verification for Atlantic SSTs.”

Simon Hedley, CEO of Acrisure Re
Ming Li, global head of catastrophe modelling, Acrisure Re

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Published June 04, 2023 at 3:49 pm (Updated June 04, 2023 at 8:11 pm)

Normal Atlantic hurricane season predicted

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