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Assessment of Hurricane Ian

2022/09/29

Hurricane Ian made landfall near the city of Cape Coral in western Florida on Wednesday. A Category 4 hurricane with sustained wind speeds of about 150 miles per hour (240 km/h), Ian very nearly reached the top Category 5 – hurricanes that exhibit winds of at least 157 miles per hour (252 km/h). In short, Ian is one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in the United States. Only four Category 5 hurricanes, the most severe type, have ever made landfall in the USA.

Because Ian moved only very slowly prior to and during landfall, the region was subjected to extreme wind speeds for a very long period – with extreme storm surges and torrential precipitation. However, it is not possible at this time to reliably estimate the economic losses or the insured losses caused by Hurricane Ian.

“Hurricane Ian was an extreme storm. Its eye was very large, its winds destructive and its precipitation extremely heavy. After leaving a path of destruction in Cuba, the storm intensified very rapidly over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. According to climate scientists, very strong storms such as Ian – which intensify quickly and bring extreme amounts of rain – are bound to occur more frequently as a result of climate change. Ian therefore corresponds to expectations in a world that has already warmed – even though it is naturally impossible to definitively trace a specific natural disaster to climate change,” said Ernst Rauch, Chief Climate and Geo Scientist and head of the Climate Solutions Unit at Munich Re.

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