Canadian Underwriter

Average typhoon season anticipated for 2004

March 16, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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While the Atlantic seaboard is preparing for an above-average hurricane season in 2004, a “close to average” typhoon season is forecast for the Far East and southeast Asia, says Tropical Storm Risk (TSR).
TSR is a consortium of experts led by the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at London’s University College. The group is predicting this year’s typhoon season, which runs from January to May, will produce an average number of intense typhoons, similar to last year. In all, nine intense typhoons and 17 typhoons are predicted. There is a 41% probability of an above-average season, 38% chance of a near-normal season, and 21% likelihood of a below-average season, the forecast concludes.
The predictions are based on normal summer waters in the region warmer water temperatures are linked to increased speed of Pacific trade winds and increased likelihood of typhoon activity.
TSR notes that typhoons are the most costly and deadly of the natural disasters affecting the region of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and coastal southeast Asia. Last year, typhoon Maemi resulted in insured losses of US$500 million, economic loss of US$4.5 billion, and was blamed for 118 deaths.
Late last year, TSR forecast an above-average Atlantic hurricane season. The season, running from June to November, could produce 13 tropical storms, including seven hurricanes, three being classified as intense.
Four tropical storms, including two hurricanes, may hit the eastern coast of the U.S., while the Caribbean could experience two tropical storms, including one hurricane.
TSR notes that historically one-in-four Atlantic hurricanes hits the U.S., but this ratio has dropped to one-in-nine. When this ratio corrects itself, the U.S. could face far more storms and far greater damage.

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