Frequent landfall season continues with category-1 Nicholas

2021 has entered the catastrophe record books from a basin storm count and landfall perspective, with only 1995 having more events rapidly intensify this early in the season, according to Guy Carpenter.

The intermediary made its comments after Nicholas became the fifth Atlantic storm to rapidly intensify before making landfall as a minimal category-1 strength hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph this week,

According to Guy Carpenter, “the most important headline on Nicholas is life threatening and dangerous inland flooding” with observed rainfall totals of 6-15″ with forecasted totals in excess of 20″ are possible spanning upper coastal Texas through southwest Louisiana:

“Heavy to excessive rainfall in coastal Texas associated with landfalling tropical systems is increasingly part of the risk profile for any storm in this region of the country. The highest rainfall amount as of Wednesday morning September 14 is 13.96″ in Galveston, TX, while the highest maximum sustained wind of 78 mph occurred on Matagorda Island. As of 8AM CDT, 375,000 customers are reported to be out of power.”

Nicholas joins North America landfalls from Hurricanes Larry and Olaf in the last week.

Hurricane Larry made landfall around 11:45PM AST Friday September 10 near South East Bight, Newfoundland.

Maximum sustained winds at landfall were 80 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 960mb. Larry is the first hurricane landfall in Newfoundland since Igor in 2010.

Hurricane Olaf made landfall near San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, around 9 PM MDT on Thursday, September 9 as a category-2 storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. Damage reports indicate downed trees and power outages in Los Cabos, but overall building codes in the region are generally engineered to endure wind speeds of these levels.

According to Guy Carpenter, the ‘Halfway Point Scorecard’ reads thus:

  • 14 named Atlantic storms in the first half of the season ranks only behind the more active seasons of 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.
  • The US has seen eight landfalling storms thus far in the 2021 season, three of which were hurricanes.
  • Since May of 2020, an incredible 19 named storms have made US landfall, compared to the long term average of three named storm landfalls per year.

Will the active Atlantic basin season continue? 

Most probably, according to Guy Carpenter: “Conditions continue to look favourable for normal to above normal activity in the second half of the season as both warmer than average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a building La Nina point towards higher probabilities of elevated activity.”

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