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Henri downgraded to tropical storm before making landfall 23/08/2021
Hurricane Henri yesterday weakened to a tropical storm (with gusts of up to 60-70 mph), before making landfall in Rhode Island on the eastern seaboard of the United States. There have been numerous reports of loss of power and flash flooding across New York (including record rainfall in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn), New Jersey and Connecticut. Further heavy rainfall and flooding is expected today and tomorrow along the north-eastern seaboard. The fact that Henri was downgraded to a tropical storm before making landfall will reduce the overall insurance cost of the storm, given that Henri will be more of a water than wind event as a result. In addition, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is likely to meet a proportion of any losses.
Alpha comment: Although the nature of flood damage and the continued heavy rain makes it hard to provide a loss estimate at this stage (early estimates are for a low single-digit dollar loss event), it is certain that the lower windspeeds will have reduced the overall level of insured losses – and, with what we know to date, we are unlikely to see a repeat of Hurricane Sandy which struck New York in 2012 and where the losses were in the tens of billions of dollars.