The storm hit the Everglades causing minimal wind damage, main risk now is flooding, says RMS

Tropical storm Fay made landfall south of Naples in the Everglades.

Neena Saith, catastrophe response manager at Risk Management Solutions (RMS) commented: “After days of uncertainty around which way the storm was heading, it eventually crossed a sparsely populated region, causing minimal wind damage. Florida initially appeared to be in the firing line, with some models predicting a category 1 hurricane hitting Tampa. If this had been the case, we could have been looking at losses up to $2bn, but as it is Florida has had a lucky escape.’

“The main risk now is from heavy rainfall over Florida, which could trigger flash flooding. There is also a lot of uncertainty as to what Fay will do over the next few days.’

Some models take Fay into the Atlantic, where there is potential to intensify before making landfall on the east coast. Other models are re-curving Fay over Florida, with the possibility of emerging into the Gulf of Mexico, she said.

‘It’s highly unlikely we’re going to see the category 3 hurricane that some models were originally suggesting.’

She added: ‘Despite the low-level impact in Florida so far, parts of the Caribbean bore the brunt of Fay’s heavy rains over the weekend. Flash flooding and landslides in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and other areas have caused damage to property and over 50 fatalities.’

Tropical storm Fay is the sixth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season – two of which reached hurricane status, Bertha and Dolly.

Seasonal forecasts suggest up to 18 named storm in total this year.