You are on page 1of 1

BestWire - 03/18/2008 11:26 am

New York Vulnerable To Rare 'Northern Hurricanes'

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates March 18 (BestWire) — New York City and its
surrounding area are highly vulnerable to a rare form of hurricane known as a "northern
hurricane," delegates at the World Insurance Forum in Dubai were told.

According to Nicholas Coch, of Queens College, University of New York, northern
hurricanes are rare but powerful phenomena that occur when a hurricane shoots up the
east coast of the United States and is not deflected by winds, but instead runs north into the
New York/New Jersey area.

In a presentation on mega-risks, Coch said these storms tend to be two to three times
faster than the hurricanes that hit the Gulf of Mexico or Florida virtually every year, leading
to less evacuation time.

Northern hurricanes also occur later in the season than others, tending to happen between
August and October, and can impact a wide area as they cause a storm surge in the angle
of the coastline delineated by New Jersey and Connecticut.

The last time that a northern hurricane occurred was the Long Island hurricane of 1938.
Coch said they tend to occur about once every 90 years, making one statistically likely by
the 2020s.

Coch also stressed the potential damage that even a moderate Category 3 hurricane could
cause to New York, including structural damage to high-rise buildings, a wide flood footprint
and the possibility that a storm surge could flood the subway and other tunnels with sea
water, which could lead to severe damage to pipes and electronic wires due to saltwater

The worst-case scenario painted out by Coch would be a hurricane making landfall in
northern New Jersey. This would expose New York City to the more powerful winds in the
right-hand side of the eyewall, increasing the amount of potential damage.

A Category 4 hurricane plowing ashore just north of Atlantic City, pummeling costly ocean-
front vacation homes and swank casinos before it drives northward into New York state and
eastern Canada, is among the $100 billion loss scenarios noted in A.M. Best's "2006
Annual Hurricane Study." As many as 40 insurers could be vulnerable to failure if a
hurricane caused $100 billion or more in insured property losses in the United States,
according to the study.
(By: Marc Jones, London news editor: BN-NJ-03-18-2008
1126 ET #