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By Geoffrey Saville | August 5, 2019

The 2019 hurricane season is underway with two named storms in the Atlantic, one of which became a hurricane and made landfall (Barry). Willis Research Network (WRN) partners at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) continue to support event response activity with seasonal forecasting information and live event commentaries, as well as insights from their relevant research.

As ever, we are keeping tabs on the latest scientific insights on the current hurricane season and are providing updates on the latest storms as they develop. Subtropical storm Andrea kicked off the 2019 season a little early in May but did not significantly affect any land areas. June was clear, but Hurricane Barry did arrive in July to bring heavy rain and damage to the Gulf of Mexico coastline in Louisiana as a category 1 storm. Along with updates of the latest forecasts, our Willis Re North America Catastrophe Analytics team also calls upon our partnership with Dr. James Done at the NCAR, to provide expert guidance and more detailed commentary on the storm's evolution and impacts, and complement insights from our Willis Re specialists. The latest WRN commentary on Barry as it threatened landfall can be found here. These briefings will continue to be written and sent to our clients (upon request) whenever a tropical cyclone threatens to make landfall in the U.S.

Our ongoing research with James also looks into the frequency of tropical cyclone landfall in different 'Weather Types' (generalized pressure patterns across the Atlantic basin which influence the paths of storms). This work has been used to develop historical landfall frequencies and can be used in conjunction with seasonal forecast models to provide guidance on likely landfall rates in a given year. Skill is modest but statistically significant and can form part of the overall Willis Re View of Risk. This work was presented in a recent webinar hosted by Prasad Gunturi, Executive Vice President, Willis Re North America Catastrophe Analytics, along with the latest summary of current hurricane seasonal forecasts. Watch the webinar here via our WRN Events page.


Head of Weather and Climate Risks Research

Geoff joined Willis Towers Watson in 2013, and works with the Willis Research Network stakeholders and academic partners to match business needs to the latest in scientific research, and derive tangible outputs for Willis Towers Watson to help advise its clients to advance their understanding of risk from weather and climate related hazards.

His background is in meteorology and climate science, having worked in forecasting for over a decade for the UK Met Office and Bermuda Weather Service, in all aspects of delivering forecast services from media broadcasting to delivering warnings and actionable guidance on extreme weather phenomena such as tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall leading to flooding.

He holds a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia, and a Masters (with distinction) in Climate Change from University College London. He is also an active Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

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