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BMS Tropical Update 9/2/2016 12 PM CDT

Hermine made landfall near St. Marks, Florida, around 1:30 am EDT with winds of 80 mph, making it a strong category 1 hurricane at landfall. As predicted, flooding rains, storm surge and tree fall have been the biggest insured impacts and overall should result in a minimal loss for the insurance industry. The storm has now weakened to a tropical storm near Savannah, Georgia. However, as mentioned in previous posts, Hermine will continue to track overland for the next 24 hours and exit the U.S. coastline near the outer banks of North Carolina. Unfortunately however, as we have seen over the last 16 days, the overall energy of this system is persistent. It now appears that Hermine won’t go away any time soon. After Hermine exits the East Coast, it will become a “post tropical” storm. This means that the storm will actually grow in size, and given that the water is as warm as it can possibly get off the East Coast of the U.S., it will continue to fuel Hermine’s circulation.

Below is a look at the warm sea surface temperatures off the East Coast.

Aug31_SST

Rule of thumb: 26C can maintain a tropical system. 28C can easily intensify it.

After Hermine moves off the East Coast, it will likely merge with a large-scale mid-latitude trough which will slow Hermine’s overall movement. Therefore, all but a few of the forecast models suggest that Hermine will stall over a 3-to-4-day period.

ECMWF_Sept2_Ens00z_Hermine

ECMWF ensembles: Most members “Stall” Hermine, some members hook inland, others out to sea. Still some uncertainty watch closely.

Hermine_Sept2_12z_HuModelsjpg

Where Hermine takes turn to North and stalls will be an important factor for Mid-Atlantic impacts. The farther east, the better

 

This is bad new for the barrier islands and beach communities along the Mid Atlantic. Historically high amounts beach erosion will occur with a very constant wind direction for several days. Keep in mind that this constant flow of water will continue to push water into the back bays, and this water will have no outlet. This will result in major coastal flooding, and perhaps even record flooding, along the New Jersey coastline.  The latest extra-tropical storm surge map forecast can be be found here:

njcapemay_Stormsurge

Major to record flooding forecast Sunday night for many stations along NJ coastline. Record at Cape May is 9.0 feet from January Nor’easter. These forecasts will change several times a day and will depend on the track of Hermine.

 

The winds over this 3-to-4-day period will be very similar to a strong nor’easter, and regardless of how the system is classified and where it might wobbles off the East Coast, tropical storm force winds could blow in many areas of the coastline. There is even a chance that Hermine could regain hurricane status. I have already made my point this week that the NHC seems to be treating the hurricane classification as a classroom lecture. Right now, the storm’s classification is far less important than its ultimate impacts.

NHC_WindProb
There are very few storms of this size that have stalled off the East Coast. One of those storms was the Ash Wednesday Storm (1962) and Hurricane Esther (1961), both of which produced significant insured impacts along the East Coast.

 

Esther_1961_track

Hurricane Esther was the first large tropical cyclone to be discovered by satellite imagery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Esther#New_England

Great video talking about the storm of 1962 and the lessons that have been learned and why one might not see the same type of damage today.

BMS Tropical Update 9/1/2016 12 PM CDT

Historically, Labor Day weekend is no stranger to hurricane impacts to the U.S. Coastline, and this year is no exception. After all, the peak of the season is just ten days away. With winds of 65 mph, Tropical Storm Hermine is less than 10 mph from being classified as a hurricane. And located 170 miles southwest of Apalachicola, Florida and 220 miles west southwest of Tampa, Hermine threatens insured losses. Several models are now coming around to the idea that the long-standing Florida hurricane drought of 3,966 days will soon end. As a reminder, the last Florida landfalling hurricane was Wilma that struck on Oct 24, 2005, near Cape Romano. (You may also recall category 2 Hurricane Arthur, but despite its landfall in 2014, it failed to cause significant insured losses.)

So will Hermine cause large insured losses? Unfortunately, we cannot depend on historical data to help predict since there is little hurricane history in Hermine’s expected path. The three best analog events for the forecasted landfall location are Hurricane Alma (1966), Tropical Storm Allison (1995), and Storm #5 (1941). Storm #5 and Alma were category 2 hurricanes at landfall, so finding a good benchmark historical hurricane to estimated insured loss is difficult in this case, but given these historical events and the hazards outlined below, a multi-million dollar insurance industry loss cannot be ruled out.

The factors that will lead to insured loss at this point will be multifaceted.

Flooding Rains and Storm Surge

Many areas along the Florida Gulf Coast have already seen significant rainfall. Here is what has fallen so far.

RainfallSofar_Hermine
Many areas of northern Florida will see between 3” – 12” more of rainfall through Saturday. And although the forecasted area of landfall is mostly made up of large tidal marshlands resulting in a coastline that is not as densely populated, it is very prone to storm surge.

Storm surge could top several feet in some areas, despite the fact that Hermine will be a minimal hurricane at landfall.  In fact, data suggest Hermine has the kenetic energy of a category 1 hurricane already.

Wind

Using Verisk Climate forecasted wind swath, BMS clients can now better understand wind impacts to specific risks. This high-resolution model wind field shows hurricane force winds rapidly weaken inland due to frictional effect.

iVision_Hermine_VC_WindsSept1

But this does not mean the winds won’t be strong enough knock down some trees, especially given the moist soil conditions in the area. In fact, this section of Florida is not just beach. There are quite a few trees in the north, especially around the Apalachee Bay. When you combine the foliage with the lack of a hurricane activity over the last 10 years, a natural culling of weak and damaged trees and branches can be expected. And, of course, even tropical-storm force winds can cause minor damage to structures.   One also can’t rule out a tornado or twoSoutheast_biomass

 

 

After Florida Landfall
Even though modeling over the last 14 days has not been the best for Hermine, it is starting to come around. Much depends on the track Hermine takes once inland over Florida. If Hermiane tracks back out over the warm waters of the gulf stream, expect Hermine to re-strengthen into a powerful coastal storm. There is some model disagreement about whether Hermine will become a hurricane again, or a post-tropical storm, but regardless, high surf and strong winds will result. Some models even stall Hermine for a few days off the New Jersey coastline near Labor day. The strength really depends upon whether Hermine stays overland along the east coast of the U.S. or just off shore.

Lastly we are still watching Invest 92L  in the Atlantic.  It is fighting dry air and weak so there is no threat at this point in time of development.

Interesting Point
The first Tweet was sent on March 21, 2006, months after Wilma in 2005. Hermine is likely Florida’s first hurricane in the Twitter era.

 

BMS Tropical Update 8/31/2016 12 PM CDT

Update:  12:55 CDT   has officially been upgraded to Tropical Storm .  Because of Aircraft observation from hurricane hunter.  Not because of satellite, ship, or drone observations. 

Tropical Depression (TD) #9
The insurance industry needs to continue to focus on Tropical Depression (TD) #9 which has been trolling the industry for 14 days. It refuses to take the next step to become named storm “Hermine.” If I had a dollar for every time a model suggested a named storm would develop in the next 12 hours, I would be a wealth meteorologist.

This leads me to the next point: the National Hurricane Center (NHC) classification for storms that approach the U.S. coastline have become increasingly technical in recent years. It is bothersome because it has an impact on the insurance industry. Sandy is a recent example of how technical the NHC storm classification has become. Sandy was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone less than 100 miles from the New Jersey coastline. With TD #9, countless observations many have suggested that TD #9 should have been a tropical storm. In fact, a ship just recently observed winds of 35 kts.

Even the NOAA Global Hawk Drone aircraft that spent 24 hours observing the storm found tropical storm winds.

This bothers me because back in early 1900’s, storms were classified based on simpler information, such as ship observations. There were no drone aircraft or various other heavily scientific equipped aircraft flying into storms to examine the exact center of circulation. The historical catalogs that are used to create today’s catastrophe models have always used ship reports and flooding rain reports from newspapers to suggest a named storm was likely in the area. This was how storms were classified before all this great technology that allowed the NHC to become so technical. This additional technical information skews modern-day historical catalogs from how it would have otherwise been classified, and it could influence catastrophe models understanding of future named storm risks.

However, storm category is less relevant to the insurance industry at this point in time. The industry needs to focus in on impacts, regardless of what category is ultimately assigned to the system in the Gulf. Which is another lesson learned from Sandy, even a non-hurricane can have hurricane impacts. TD #9 will likely have impacts similar to hurricanes as it tracks northeast over the next several days and makes landfall Thursday night somewhere north of Tampa in the Big Bend region of Florida.

09L_tracks_latest09L_intensity_latest

 

Florida Threats
The main threat at this time is heavy rainfall and flooding. Many parts of Florida will continue to experience heavy rain with a 3” – 13” swath of rain predicted across much of northwestern Florida. Flooding is expected in inland areas and coastal areas as well, as the Big Bend region of the coastline is prone to storm surge. The NHC now issues very detailed storm surge forecasts with every advisory.

Adv12_Surge

 

Depending on the strength of TD #9 at landfall, winds may gust strongly enough to cause tree damage and power outages. An absence of recent hurricanes made the area ripe for tree falls. Soil moisture is already above normal for the projected landfall area, and even a weak gust of wind can down unhealthy or overgrown trees. A good natural cleaning of foliage can be expected.

Lastly, along with any tropical system there is always a risk of isolated tornadoes. The northern and central parts of Florida and far southern parts of Georgia are at risk as the center of the system moves across Florida later this week.

BMS clients can preview many of these hazards by using iVision to better understand their exposure to the upcoming event.

Post-Landfall Florida
Some models suggest that after the system makes landfall in Florida, it could hang around off the East Coast and maybe even make a second landfall in the Northeast later next week. But before we examine the storm’s next move, we need it to move to the Northeast from its current stationary location.

BMS Tropical Update 8/23/2016 12 PM CDT

It’s time for U.S. insurers to take careful note of tropical wave 99L that I blogged about on Friday. This tropical wave is currently 400 miles to the east-southeast of the Leeward Islands. At its current translation speed of 15-20 mph, the wave will reach the eastern Caribbean tomorrow morning and Puerto Rico on Thursday. A hurricane hunter is slated to investigate 99L this morning, and the data it collects could suggest a high likelihood that the tropical wave will develop into a named storm: the name “Hermine” awaits. This hurricane hunter data will also provide improved data for numerical weather models and will augment future track forecasts.

Aug2312PM_AtlanticImage
Future Possible Track
Climatology suggests Invest 99L is at least six days away from any U.S. interaction, so a great deal of uncertainty still exists within the forecast. However, based on its current location, climatology suggests with 32% probability that a named storm will impact the U.S. and with 27% probability that a named storm will make U.S. landfall.
When you factor in forecast-model suggestions, these probabilities increase: model consensus indicates that Invest 99L will track toward the Northern Caribbean islands. Some divergence starts to occur at this point within the models: Some of the models take the system into south Florida and some take the system into the Bahamas. But either scenario increases the probability that the system will track toward the U.S. over the next few days.

Aug2312PM_99LForecastedTracks

 

Despite forecast uncertainty, many scenarios have potential to play out in the next six days. One historical marker looms large. On this date in 2005, Tropical Depression 12 formed in the Bahamas and was forecasted to track toward Florida as a tropical storm. A few days later, Tropical Depression 12 developed into Katrina and hit south Florida. It was the last August hurricane to make landfall in Florida. We now know Katrina quickly gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico to become one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history. It should also be noted 24 years go today hurricane Andrew made landfall in south Florida after rapidly strengthening near the Bahamas.  Just as was experienced with  hurricane JOAQUIN storms can rapidly strengthen in this general area given the very warm sea surface temperatures.

01_AL1205W

TD 12 forecast on this date in 2005. TD 12 went on to be hurricane Katrina.

Katrina, Andrew, Joaquin serve as a reminder that hurricanes can develop rapidly in the right conditions and forecast tracks have uncertainty five to six days out. In the more than 10 years since Katrina, weather models have improved, and they suggest tropical troubles could be brewing closer to the U.S. later this weekend. These 11 years since Katrina have also brought new and untested insurance companies and 2 million additional Florida residents, many of whom have never experienced a hurricane. All of these facts add up to the conclusion that Invest 99L requires careful watch over the next several days.

Other Systems:

Fiona – continues to weaken south of Bermuda and is no longer being watched by the National Hurricane Center.  It maybe come back to life so stay tuned, but stay out to sea.

Gaston – should become a hurricane later today and track into the central Atlantic and east of Bermuda early next week.

BMS Tropical Update Joaquin 10/01/2015 12PM CDT

  “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” – Donald Rumsfeld

 

The quote above is often ridiculed, but it’s actually a brilliant description of Joaquin. In fact. the insurance and reinsurance industry are all too familiar with knowns and unknowns. Model uncertainty is part of doing business, and it is common knowledge that all catastrophe models have some degree of unknown error. There has been a push by insurance companies to funnel better location-level data into the catastrophe models in an effort to limit the overall model uncertainty in modeling risk at a location level.

Weather models are similar to catastrophe models in terms of uncertainty: uncertainties exist in every model run; but generally, the more detailed the input, the greater the accuracy of the output. Better input helps limit uncertainties. Already this year we anxiously awaited the arrival of a Tropical Storm Erika as a catastrophic hurricane to impact Florida hurricane, only to watch Erika fizzle a couple hundred miles south of Cuba.

View post on imgur.com

Meteorologist view after every new forecast model run for Hurricane Joaquin

I have highlighted the overall uncertainty in Joaquin’s forecast track all week. As anticipated, we have already seen the model and official forecast for Joaquin change drastically from east to west to back east.  Most arm chair meteorologist are unaware that behind the scenes increasing amounts of data detail are feeding the weather models to try to get a better picture of the overall atmosphere. Extra weather balloons are being launched at sites all over the Eastern U.S and Caribbean. NOAA and the U.S. Air Force have multiple aircraft sampling the environment in and around Joaquin. All this data is being fed into the weather model to hopefully limit overall uncertainty: just like in a catastrophe model.

Ironically, with more detailed input, the overall forecast for Joaquin has become more certain, but yet the overall track options for Joaquin extend past the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) cone of uncertainty in this case.  In my opinion, Bermuda, which is not even in the cone of uncertainty, is just as likely as Boston to feel Joaquin’s impact.

In the short term, Joaquin will significantly impact the islands of the Bahamas as Joaquin will fluctuate in intensity as a major hurricane for the next 24 – 36 hours. As mentioned yesterday, after 36 hours the door is wide open for several different track paths. A U.S. landfall is still possible, but the new forecast models (that are being fed all this higher resolution data) suggest a more eastward shift in track away from a U.S. landfall.

I consider the ECMWF model (image below -Right) to be very good and reliable, and it illustrates Joaquin moving out to sea and closer to Bermuda. I expect by Friday we will have a much clearer picture of where Joaquin will track this weekend, and with that, insured impacts can start to be calculated.

Oct1_Ens_Joaquin_Tracks

American (GFS Model) left and the European (ECMWF Model) right ensemble runs which in total is over 75 separate model runs of possible tracks for hurricane Joaquin.

So until the track is known it’s best to focus on what is known:

  • As Joaquin funnels tropical moisture northward, rainfall totals will continue to increase across much of the East Coast regardless of whether the hurricane hits land. Over a foot of rain could occur in some area which  will produce flash flooding.
  • Minor coastal flooding is already occurring along the East Coast from strong onshore winds being funneled between Joaquin to the south and strong Canadian high pressure to the north. That flooding will likely worsen over the next few days, regardless of the track of Joaquin

BMS Tropical Update Joaquin 9/30/2015 12PM CDT

Hurricane Joaquin rapidly intensified overnight and is now a Category 1 hurricane tracking west toward the Bahamas. As I wrote about yesterday, the forecast uncertainty for Joaquin is extremely high. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has clearly communicated this uncertainty in their forecast discussions which I have quote below.

“Confidence in the details of the track forecast late in the period remains very low, since the environmental steering currents are complex and not being handled in a consistent manner by the models. Given that a wide range of outcomes is possible, it is too soon to say what impacts, if any, Joaquin will have on the United States.”

Further, the Director of the NHC tweeted:

Although uncertainties exist, I think it is safe to warn about what the known impacts will be “IF” Joaquin approaches or makes landfall along the East Coast.

We do know that hurricane Joaquin is now located 215 miles east-northeast of the Central Bahamas and will continue to strengthen into what will likely be a major hurricane off the East Coast by Saturday. In fact, water temperatures near Joaquin are currently at all-time record warm levels and could, if all other factors align, easily support a Category 5 hurricane. In fact, a high-end Category 3 or 4 is now likely for Joaquin, which would pack sustained winds of more than 120 mph over the Bahamas. However, it should be noted that regardless of the hurricane’s strength over the Bahamas, as hurricanes move northward out of the deep tropics, climatology suggests they tend to weaken and speeds up. How much Joaquin could weaken is still unknown. Therefore it is still premature to estimate a landfall location and insured impacts along the East Coast.

Regardless of storm strength, as an East Coast hurricane, Joaquin will create large waves, and the stronger the hurricane, the larger the waves will be. In this case, a constant on shore flow will cause extensive beach erosion along the coastline and impact coast properties.

WW3_Waves_Joaquin9302015

GFW wavewatch model with 45-50 foot waves off NC coast, 20 plus all the way to Long island by early Sunday AM

Depending on the final track and if Joaquin makes landfall, a large storm surge will likely accompany Joaquin. In fact, the devastating current possibility that Joaquin could track up the Chesapeake or Delaware Bays can’t be ruled out. This type of storm track has been modeled to produce devastating storm surge for these coastal bay waters, and the already high water levels from rainfall and a near super moon will not help the situation.

In addition to the torrential rainfall currently impacting much of the East Coast, some models are forecasting more rain depending on Joaquin’s forecast track. Some forecast models produce an additional 8 – 10” of rain on top of saturated ground. And with already high river levels, some major river flooding can be expected.

QPF

A foot of rain—or more—is possible across much of the East Coast this week as Hurricane Joaquin approaches.

In summary, the uncertainty in the current track forecast cannot be understated, and it is not even represented well by the official track forecast by the NHC. Unfortunately in this situation, the spread in the forecast models is far greater in size than the cone of uncertainty in the official forecast by the NHC. As the image below shows there are still several models including the very good and reliable ECMWF (not shown) that take Joaquin out to sea.  I expect by Friday we will have a much clearer picture of where Joaquin will track this weekend, and with that, insured impacts can start to be calculated.

GFSENSSpread

GFS Ensemble model shows 2 distinct solution clusters for storm tracks Door #1 up the east coast. Door #2 out to sea.


 

Time to wake up? BMS Tropical Update -TS Joaquin – 09/29/2015 3:00 PM CDT

As you might have noticed TS Joaquin has been named by the NHC and is currently 425 miles East Northeast of the Bahamas.

I have been saying since the start of the season the main threat this year is along the East Coast of the U.S which follows the pattern over the last several years. Joaquin is forecasted to move closer to the East Coast this week and with it is the threat of a tropical system impacting the East Coast of the U.S. Though the forecast remains very uncertain, heavy rain, coastal flooding and strong winds are possible for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast starting Friday with upwards of 12” of rain are forecasted to fall by the end of this weekend regardless of the strength of Joaquin.

Though it’s too soon to tell exactly where the storm will head and how strong it will get by the weekend, the possibility remains that Tropical Storm Joaquin could become a weak to major hurricane just off the Eastern Seaboard on Saturday morning. Much like we saw with TS Erika earlier this year the forecast models are handling this storm poorly and there is extremely low confidence in the forecast at this given time.

Above is view of the very wide range in the model forecasts for the storm’s future track. This makes identifying a “most likely” track all the more challenging. Note the tremendous divergence of possibilities, including several models that hook this storm toward the left (west), with potential landfall anywhere from the Outer Banks to Boston. The NHC OFCL track is in the middle of the guidance.

 

The intensity forecast remains equally problematic. The guidance spread is shown above, which shows the official NHC OFCL intensity remains conservative at 70 mph as the storm comes within striking range of the Mid-Atlantic coastline.

But a sizable number of models do intensify this storm into a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, which the National Hurricane Center notes in their discussion. The rationale for strengthening is the potential for wind shear over the storm to decrease. Wind shear is detrimental to tropical cyclones, and if it weakens it could allow the storm to strengthen to its full potential over the warm waters which are currently at the warmest levels ever measured since weather records began in 1880.

Regardless of the forecast model of the day. The situation is ugly with a similar set up that brought Hurricane Sandy up the East Coast of the U.S in the fall of 2012 which leads me to think the probability of Joaquin impacting the East Coast of the U.S. is higher than the storm tracking out to sea. I also feel the NHC is too conservative on intensity and the NHC should adjust this upward over the next few days.

Even if Joaquin doesn’t make landfall as a hurricane or tropical storm, this meteorological setup is nearly ideal for a high-impact flood event later this week across the core of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Comparing the current pattern with similar historical weather patterns, one of the leading analogs right now is Hurricane Irene in 2011, which produced catastrophic flooding in upstate New York and New England. Other matches include the merging of Tropical Storm Tammy and a subtropical depression in October 2005 and the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole in 2010. Therefore the rainfall of the 10” – 12” in parts of East Coast states will lead to some of the worst flooding not seen in several years.

Again, there is significant uncertainty in the forecast for this storm, and we will probably continue to see the models toss and turn over the next 24 to 48 hours. Big swings in track and intensity are possible. Social media is abuzz with discussion of a big East Coast hit, but any serious discussion should be tempered at this point concerning specific model solutions. This is something to watch and monitor closely for the rest of this week as this complex forecast situation resolves.

BMS Tropical Update 8/28/2015 12PM CDT

Tropical Storm Erika continues to defy forecasts made earlier in the week. At this point in time Erika was supposed to be much further north of the island of Hispaniola and in a much better overall environment for intensification. However, Erika is currently 90 miles southeast of Santo Domingo, DominicaRepublic, in an environment that is not at all conductive to tropical cyclone development.

 

Erika_TrackError2015

TS Erika NHC forecast made Tuesday afternoon showing the track error as Erika continues to defy forecasts

This further westward movement calls for drastic changes to the probabilities forecast options provided in my last update as we play another round of model roulette. In the last update I highlighted the overall uncertainties in tropical cyclone forecasting, and Erika has definitely met expectations with regard to those uncertainties.

Tropical Storm Erika continues to battle an incredibly unfavorable environment. The wind shear, which acts to tear apart tropical cyclones, is already quite strong – about 20 mph from the west – and it is forecast to increase to nearly 30 mph today. That amount of shear is hard for a well-developed storm to fend off, and Erika isn’t even well developed , which increases the overall probability of dissipation.

ShearAndTendency

Erika is in a area of 20 kts shear and is moving into an areas where shear could be as high as 30 kts. Tropical storms / hurricanes don’t like areas of high shear.

If Erika manages to make it over the mountains of Hispaniola intact and fight of this high shear area, she could quickly intensify again in the extremely warm waters off the coast of Florida. In fact history would suggest a tropical storm tracking up the west coast of Florida could be quite destructive such as the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

Here is my updated break down of Erika’s forecast options at the moment:

  • Stalled hurricane in the Bahamas (0% chance) – Unlike the last update, this is now the least likely option for Erika, given its westward track.
  • Hurricane landfall in south Florida (30% chance) – A category 1 hurricane near south Florida on Monday morning with the storm stalling over the state of Florida during the middle of next week.  This would caused 6-8” or rain to fall over much of the state.
  • Tropical storm landfall in south Florida, but a hurricane on the Florida panhandle (35% chance) – Maintain a west-northwest heading, gradually intensifying and heading for south Florida as a tropical storm. Then tracking into the western Gulf of Mexico and becoming a hurricane along the west coast of Florida and into the Florida panhandle.
  • Death in the Caribbean (35% chance) – Failure to reach the mainland U.S.; and the storm stays further south and tracks over Hispaniola, Cuba, and maybe even northern Jamaica.

Once again there are forecast uncertainties and one can’t rule out Erika playing more forecasting tricks over the weekend as this weak disorganized system tries to stay alive. Hispaniola is historically a tropical cyclone blender.  If the NHC forecast is correct with a tropical storm landfall or close encounter to Florida much of the state may well be affected by the storm’s rainfall.  The last tropical cyclone to make landfall on south Florida was tropical storm Bonnie on July 23, 2010. Before that, the previous one was tropical storm Ernesto on August 30, 2006.  So indeed named storm activity has been very sparse since the wild 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Remember that  tropical storms are still quite capable of causing flash floods and power outages, as well as coastal erosion and flooding, and the winds can throw around unsecured loose objects. Tropical cyclones can also cause insured loss, case in point tropical storm Bill impacting Texas earlier this June.

Looking ahead there are no other tropical systems that should develop in the Atlantic Ocean next week.