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Guy Carpenter’s Instrat unit has issued reports about last year’s notable global tropical cyclone activity as well as 2008 man-made and technical catastrophes.

Appropriately titled “2008 Tropical Cyclone Review,” the first summarizes last year’s activity while including estimates of economic and insured losses sustained from each of the more significant cyclones after landfall. The unit asserts that the 2008 season displayed an “above-average” level of activity, as 16 tropical storms formed in the North Atlantic. This represents a 65 percent increase compared to the period from 1950 to 2007, which averaged at 9.7 tropical storms. In fact, eight of the 16 named storms in 2008 developed into hurricanes, and five of those became major hurricanes, meaning they registered a Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

According to Guy Carpenter, 2008 was the fourth most severe hurricane season since reliable records have been available. For the first time on record, six consecutive tropical cyclones — Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike — made landfall on the U.S. mainland. Additionally, a record three major hurricanes — Gustav, Ike, and Paloma — struck Cuba. The team goes on to mention that this was also the first Atlantic season to have a major hurricane form in five consecutive months, referring to Bertha in July; Gustav in August; Ike in September; Omar in October; and Paloma in November. The period also witnessed the first tropical cyclone ever to make four landfalls in one state — Hurricane Fay, impacting Florida.

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