Whichever way you look at it, 2017 was a remarkable hurricane season: The U.S. major hurricane drought ended; it was the first year on record in which the U.S. experienced three Category 4 or higher landfalls; and September was the single most active month on record. The Atlantic was generally expected to experience slightly above-average activity in 2017, but La Niña-like conditions and unusually warm water temperatures contributed to more activity than expected. There were more hurricanes and major storms than even NOAA’s revised seasonal forecast anticipated.
With the season behind us, we can now announce the winner of AIR’s second client hurricane contest. Congratulations to Travis Geyer, a Catastrophe Modeling Analyst with ASI (American Strategic Insurance), one of the largest homeowners insurance carriers in the U.S.! Travis has won a Family 72-Hour Emergency Preparedness kit containing emergency supplies for the home, car, and one other location to meet the preparedness needs of 4 individuals.
The object of the contest is to guess:
- How many named tropical storms will form in the Atlantic during the year?
- How many of those tropical storms will become hurricanes?
- How many will become major hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Category 3 or higher)?
- How many hurricanes will make landfall in the mainland U.S.?
Travis predicted 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes, and 3 U.S. landfalls. The actual totals for the year were 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 6 major hurricanes, and 3 U.S. landfalls. So Travis was only one out with his predictions for named storms and hurricanes, and therefore incurred just two error points.
AIR also runs an internal hurricane contest for our employees, and this time around 157 people entered. Only one employee—Daniel Rees in our Research Department—predicted the season’s counts exactly, but the second and third prize winners came close, with just one and two error points respectively. Overall, the mean error was 11.8 (lower is better) and the maximum error was 28.
AIR’s hurricane contest is a fun way to underscore just how difficult it is to predict seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity, even when crowd sourcing. We hope you enjoyed this year’s contest, and look forward to launching the 2018 contest in the spring!