Southern US Storms Will Exceed $1 Billion

Broker Aon has warned the cost of a series of major tornados which impacted almost a dozen US states last week are likely to cost in excess of $1 billion.

In its weekly cat report the firm said that the severe weather will likely become the fifth billion dollar event in the first four months of the year.

The severe weather outbreak swept across parts of the southern and eastern United States from 10-14 April killing at least 38 people and injuring hundreds of others. The outbreak prompted a minimum of 121 confirmed tornado touchdowns from Texas to Maryland in addition to very large hail, damaging straight-line winds, and torrential rains that prompted flash flooding in the Tennessee Valley. Among the hardest-hit areas came in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina following deadly tornadoes, large hail, and non-tornadic synoptic winds topping 70 mph (110 kph).

Aon added: “The broad storm system resulted in widespread and substantial damage across nearly two-dozen states, and in some cases where tornadoes were the most intense, the damage impacts were catastrophic.

“At least 38 people were killed, and hundreds of others were injured during the outbreak. This was the deadliest U.S. tornado outbreak since 2-3 March 2-32012. The scale of damage was driven by tornado touchdowns, hail approaching the size of softballs, and straight-line winds topping 80 mph (130 kph).”

The report added: “More than 1.8 million customers were without power during the peak of the event. States of emergency were declared in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The most catastrophic damage was incurred in Mississippi as nearly a dozen tornadoes touched down across the state. A state-wide state of emergency was declared.”

In terms of the financial costs Aon said the figure would be significant.

“Given the extensive damage footprint across much of the Southern and Eastern US – which included catastrophic effects from tornado touchdowns, large hail, straight-line winds, and flash flooding – it is anticipated that the financial toll will be significant,” the report explained. “A preliminary view suggests economic and insured losses minimally reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars; though it was highly likely that the overall economic toll will exceed $1 billion. This is expected to become the fifth billion-dollar US severe convective storm event thus far in 2020, and the second in two weeks.”