California-based Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a provider of products and services for the management of catastrophe risk, was preparing to send a reconnaissance team to Bermuda to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Fabian, which made landfall last Friday.
RMS has been issuing updates to its insurance industry clients over the weekend, and reports that insurance losses are expected to significantly exceed those of Hurricane Emily, which caused approximately $35 million of insured damage in 1987.
Hurricane Fabian, the first major hurricane of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season, passed over Bermuda around 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 5 as a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with estimated wind speeds in excess of 120 mph (192 kph). An RMS reconnaissance team was preparing to fly to Bermuda to assess the damage once the airport reopened.
“The two key sources of damage were Fabian’s winds and storm surge,” said Brian Owens, director of technical marketing at RMS and member of the RMS hurricane response team. “From a wind perspective, damage was reported all across the islands. As expected based on modeling the storm’s structure and orientation, the main damage was to property on the more exposed south and southwest facing coasts. We have also modeled the storm surge effects of Fabian, and the same areas were most vulnerable to surge.”
Storm surge heights along the south coast were likely to have been between 10 and 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m). The largest storm surge likely occurred along the southwest coastline near Southampton, with surge heights decaying to the east away from the eye wall, which crossed over the western region of the main island.
RMS will continue to monitor the damage on Bermuda and will issue updates based on findings of the reconnaissance team.
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