Isidore Turns North, Threatens U.S. Gulf Coast

September 25, 2002

Hurricane Isidore, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, is currently over the Gulf of Mexico, but its on track to hit the U.S. somewhere between Florida and Texas as early as tomorrow night.

After causing widespread devastation in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, with the loss of four lives, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that Isidore had lost considerable strength while over land, with maximum sustained winds now at 60 mph and higher gusts. It’s “about 355 miles south of the Louisiana coast,” said an NHC bulletin issued at 1:00 a.m. CDT.

The storm is moving north at around 10 mph and will probably continue on this track for the next 24 hours, “some strengthening is possible,” said the announcement. It warned that, “Isidore is a large storm covering much of the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 345 miles.” While the wind speeds have declined, lessening the threat of extreme damages, the NHC is concerned that heavy rains, as much as 20 inches, is likely to fall in some areas of the Northern Gulf Coast and could cause “life-threatening floods” to occur “over the Southeastern United States during the next several days.”

The warnings have been taken seriously enough that Swiss Re announced that Andrew Castoldi, the Head of “Catastrophe and Perils” at Swiss Re America, one of its foremost catastrophic damage experts, would be available to “speak to the media to offer insight into the potential economic impact of Hurricane Isisdore and the preparedness of the insurance industry to aid affected citizens and businesses.”

The contacts at Swiss Re in New York are :
Michael McNamara, 212/317-5663
Alayna Tagariello, 212/317-5338

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