Tropical Storm Nate Makes Landfall in Mexico

Tropical Storm NateBOSTON, Sept. 12, 2011 – According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Tropical Storm Nate finally picked up speed over the weekend and made landfall on Sunday at around 11:00 a.m. EDT near the town of Tecolutla (population 25,000) in the eastern state of Veracruz, Mexico. Nate failed to achieve hurricane status, coming onshore as a minimal tropical storm with sustained winds of near 45 mph.

“For the previous several days, Nate had been pulling in a large mass of dry air from Mexico, which prevented its intensification,” said Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Also, despite the presence of slightly elevated sea surface temperatures in the Gulf, the storm’s nearly stationary motion caused an ‘upwelling’ of colder water from below. This caused Nate to begin to weaken and lose its tropical storm characteristics. After landfall, the storm dissipated quickly, reducing the total amount of rainfall and the threat of flooding.”

Nate weakened to a tropical depression as it tracked inland, dumping up to two inches of rainfall, with additional amounts in isolated areas of higher terrain. Nate formed near the major oil-and gas-producing area of the northern Gulf of Mexico, the fourth named storm to threaten oil operations in the Gulf this year. Mexico’s two main crude oil export ports suspended production in advance of Nate’s
arrival. However, no significant damage has been reported and the impact on production was limited.

According to AIR, in Mexico, insured residential properties are largely of confined masonry construction, while insured commercial properties are overwhelmingly of confined masonry and reinforced masonry. At Nate’s wind speeds, both construction types should fare well; structural damage from wind should be minimal. Indeed minimal damage has so far been reported, although poorly constructed homes and other structures may have experienced minor damage to roof and wall claddings. Following landfall, there were few reports of damage.

As of the National Hurricane Center’s 5pm EDT yesterday, Nate had dissipated completely. Dr. Doggett commented, “It is now a remnant low pressure system, lacking a closed surface circulation. However, the remnants from Nate could drop an additional 1-2 inches of precipitation.”

AIR does not expect significant insured losses from Nate in Mexico.

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