Hurricane Nicole made landfall in Bermuda on Oct. 13 as a Category 3 storm, less than a week after Hurricane Matthew plowed through the island nation and Haiti before slamming into the U.S. Southeast coast.
Only seven major hurricanes have passed within 46 miles of Bermuda since 1851, the most recent being Hurricane Fabian in September 2013, catastrophe modeling firm RMS noted in an Oct. 13 bulletin.
More importantly, Bermuda has a high level of property insurance penetration, and most insurance policies are extended to include damage due to windstorms and storm surge inundation, according to RMS. That said, RMS pointed out that Bermuda generally experiences relatively minor wind damage, because many buildings are stone-built and stone-roofed, a stabilizing element “except in the most severe storms.”
As well, most resorts in Bermuda are on low cliffs, which is generally a protective element for wave and storm surge damage, with the exception of when “the most severe storms” hit. RMS also said that Bermuda’s natural harbors provide some pleasure craft sheltering.
AIR Worldwide said that the storm was forecast to move away from Bermuda late Thursday toward the northeast, with gradual weakening over the next few days as it moves out to sea, even as it increased in forward speed.
For now, however, it is a major threat, noted Scott Stransky, assistant vice president and principal scientist at AIR Worldwide.
“Nicole is a very large storm, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 70 miles outward from the center and tropical storm-force winds extending up to 185 miles outward,” Stransky said in prepared remarks. “At one time, Nicole’s eye reached around 50 miles in diameter; for comparison, Bermuda is approximately 22 miles wide.”
Sources: AIR Worldwide, RMS