US thunderstorm activity results in multi-billion dollar losses
Tornado touchdowns in April at highest level for month since 2011...
The report reveals that nearly 250 tornadoes touched down in the United States during the month – the most for April since 2011 – contributing to multi-billion-dollar thunderstorm economic losses. The first of two major tornado outbreaks swept across southern and eastern sections of the U.S. from April 13-15, killing at least nine people and causing widespread damage. The outbreak was marked by 70 tornado touchdowns, up to baseball-sized hail, and damaging straight line winds gusting to 100 mph (160 kph) across the hardest-hit states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and further eastward into the Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic.
Total economic losses were estimated at up to USD925 million, with insurers covering approximately USD700 million of the cost.
The second major tornado outbreak impacted central and eastern sections of the U.S. between April 17-19, killing at least four people. The outbreak comprised at least 96 tornadoes across a dozen states. Nearly half of the twisters were recorded in Mississippi; while widespread reports of damaging straight-line winds and large hail also occurred. Total economic losses were expected to reach into the hundreds of millions (USD), with a majority of the costs being insured.
Steve Bowen, Director and Meteorologist within Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said: “April is often defined by severe convective storms across North America. While thunderstorms produced notable tornado, hail, and non-tornadic wind damage in the United States, there was particular focus on widespread flooding in the U.S. and Canada. The multi-billion-dollar uninsured cost of the flood events – including those in the Missouri, Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Ottawa, and Saint John River Basins – has once again exposed the existing protection gap within mature insurance markets for a specific peril. Determining best practice approaches to understand flood risk and further encourage insurance take-up should help lower this gap and minimize the financial burden on affected residents.”
Other natural catastrophe events to have occurred elsewhere during the month include:
- Torrential rainfall in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killed at least 10 people and damaging residential and commercial properties, vehicles and infrastructure. Economic damage was forecast in the millions (USD).
- The South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and the Free State were hit by widespread flooding and mudslides following heavy rainfall. At least 87 people died, and local infrastructure suffered notable damage. The economic cost in Durban alone was ZAR660 million (USD50 million).
- Heavy rains and flash flooding impacted northwestern and southern Pakistan. At least 20 people were killed in Balochistan and South Waziristan.
- A storm system – known locally as a western disturbance – resulted in numerous clusters of thunderstorms across parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India, killing at least 146 people and causing extensive damage to residential and commercial property, infrastructure, and cropland. Economic losses were expected to reach into the millions of dollars (USD).
To view the full Impact Forecasting April 2019 Global Catastrophe Recap report, please follow the link:
Along with the report, users can access current and historical natural catastrophe data and event analysis on Impact Forecasting’s Catastrophe Insight website, which is updated bi-monthly as new data become available: