Natural Disasters – Fierce forecast: Tornadoes and Hurricanes in 2011

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Natural Disasters


Fierce forecast: Feds predict up to 10 Atlantic hurricanes in 2011

SUMMARY: Federal forecasters Thursday called for an “above-normal” hurricane season, with 12-18 named storms predicted to form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Of those, 6-10 should become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes, with wind speeds above 111 mph. Climate factors in this outlook include unusually warm Atlantic Ocean water, with temperatures some two degrees above average, reports Gerry Bell, lead seasonal forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. Additionally, the impacts of the La Nina climate pattern, such as reduced wind shear, are expected to continue into the hurricane season. The NOAA forecast is similar to earlier predictions by researchers at Colorado State University and the AccuWeather commercial service.


ANALYSIS: Everyone’s calendar has a June 1. It is the start of hurricane season. Most likely, a hurricane will not hit that day. But it is a bad bet to assume that some unknown force will prevent all hurricanes.

Every prediction this year reflects the fact that conditions are perfect for an above-average hurricane season. Warmer water, reduced shear, disaster denial, and budget cuts for satellite monitoring all point to concern. One hurricane can change lives forever. Not only the direct losses, but the indirect losses (supply shortages, lost business, insurance premium hikes) will have major impacts.

  • Which ports do your critical suppliers use?
  • Where are their factories?
  • What are their plans?
  • Why will your employees come to work if they are concerned about their families?

2011 has already brought record catastrophes:  Earthquake, tsunami, and radiation in Japan, tornados in the Southeast, and flooding on the Mississippi. Why would you expect hurricane season to break this pattern? Yes, hurricanes will come. Several will more than likely be major. Media will show scary pictures. Homes and businesses destroyed, and lives lost.

We cannot stop all events. We can predict them and plan for them. Have you?

U.S. tornadoes could cost insurers $6B – RMS

Risk-modeling agency RMS estimated the tornado outbreak in the South last month could cost the insurance industry up to $6 billion. Losses from the tornadoes will add to billions of dollars in insurance claims arising from a string of natural disasters over the first three months of the year, including the earthquake that devastated Japan in March. Lloyd’s of London said last week it would take a $3.8 billion hit from earthquakes and floods in the first quarter, outstripping the $2.6 billion in natural disaster claims it paid out in all of 2010.


ANALYSIS: Losses from the tornado outbreak are staggering. Estimates are of insured losses over $6 billion already. This number will rise. What percentage of homes and businesses were uninsured or underinsured? Total losses will exceed tens of billions. In addition, what about lost business? What about disruptions in supply chains?

These direct and indirect losses can exceed $100 billion. But, the real loss is the human impact. Every crisis is a human crisis. The toll will last for life times.

When we think about disasters, the term “disaster recovery’’ emerges quickly. In the IT world it means recovering data, information, and systems. In terms of FEMA, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army, it means being there with physical help as soon as possible.

While not every disaster can be prevented, risks can be mitigated.

Do you understand the risks, vulnerabilities, and hazards that you face?

  • The term used in our industry is “all hazards.” Do you know them?
  • Do you understand the impacts?
  • Do you have a monitoring plan and triggers to activate your plans?
  • Do you have actionable plans?
  • Have you trained your people for work and at home?
  • Have you exercised your plans?
  • Are you ready?
  • Are you sure?
  • How do you know?
  • If we asked the above questions to your employees, management, suppliers and customers, would they say yes?






–Jim Satterfield, Firestorm President/COO

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