Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Quick Update

Just a quick update, not a whole new post, but I found it interesting. One of my main jobs is seeking out new markets for clients that we already have or might come across. In this vein, the other day I saw a market for various types of youth programs. We write a few of those, so I contacted the company.

I was told that they made a decision not to write anything on Long Island. This is related to the catastrophe storm stuff, but it's not like there are thousands of youth groups on Long Island in the same way that there are thousands of expensive homes. This is just another example of companies that are in panic mode.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our First Storm Scare of the Season

This past weekend, Long Island and the surrounding areas got our first scare of this season. For those who don't realize it, we are already in the beginning weeks of what is considered hurricane season for our part of the world.

Here in Nassau and Suffolk counties, we got pretty lucky this past weekend. New Jersey was not so lucky and they continue to dig out of the mess. This was a nor'easter, as opposed to a tropical storm. There are a couple of things that were different. One is that it came from over the middle of the country, as opposed to tropical storms and hurricanes, which originate (strangely enough) in the tropics, out over water.

So that means that our deluge of rainfall was preceded by a bunch of snow being dropped on the middle part of the country. Usually they are laughing at us when we get hit by a tropical storm, because those rarely make it far inland. Once they do go over land, they quickly lose much of their strength.

The other thing that makes nor'easters so treacherous, especially here on Long Island and in the sort of inverted coastal corner that is the New York metropolitan area, is that the wind comes from a different direction than what is normal for us. Typically, our winds are the 'prevailing westerlies'. (Wind is named for the direction where it originates). That's why our weather patterns usually run from west to east. So if it's raining in central Pennsylvania, most times you can watch as the weather forecasters tell us how long it will be until that reaches us.

Even in this nor'easter, it came from the west relative to us. But the wind is from the northeast instead of the usual west. That means that to a certain extent, these high winds are blowing water in towards our south shores as they circulate around the storm's center! That's why nor'easters can cause heavy flooding even though it might not seem, walking out into our back yards, that things are all that horrible.

Let's hope this does not portend a more active hurricane season here on Long Island. In the past few weeks several more major insurance carriers have stopped writing in Suffolk County. The markets that are open are getting more expensive. And a couple of bad storms could really cause a crisis. We shall see.

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