February 2012
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Expensive natural disasters of 2011

Expensive natural disasters of 2011

During 2011, a record 12 weather and climate disasters each caused $1 billion or more in damages, according to www.noaa.gov.

Following are the disasters and their monetary costs:

  • Groundhog Day blizzard, Jan. 29-Feb. 3, 2011: A large winter storm hit many central, eastern and northeastern states; 2 feet of snow fell in the Chicago area. Insured losses were more than $1 billion, and total losses were more than $1.8 billion.
  • Midwest/Southeast tornadoes, April 4-5, 2011: Forty-six tornadoes in the central and southern states resulted in more than $2 billion of insured losses and more than $2.8 billion of total losses.
  • Midwest/Southeast tornadoes, April 8-11, 2011: Fifty-nine tornadoes in the central and southern states resulted in more than $1.5 billion of insured losses and more than $2.2 billion of total losses.
  • Midwest/Southeast tornadoes, April 14-16, 2011: An outbreak of 177 tornadoes in the central and southern states resulted in more than $1.4 billion of insured losses and more than $2.1 billion of total losses.
  • Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest tornadoes, April 25-28, 2011: There was an outbreak of 343 tornadoes in the central and southern states, including an EF-5 tornado in northern Alabama that killed 78 people. The tornadoes resulted in more than $7.3 billion of insured losses and more than $10.2 billion of total losses.
  • Midwest/Southeast tornadoes, May 22-27, 2011: There was an outbreak of 180 tornadoes in the central and southern states, including an EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Mo., that killed 158 people; it was the deadliest tornado on record in the U.S. The tornadoes resulted in more than $6.5 billion of insured losses and more than $9.1 billion of total losses.
  • Midwest/Southeast tornadoes, June 18-22, 2011: Eighty-one tornadoes hit the central states and wind and hail damage hit the Southeast, resulting in more than $1 billion of insured losses and more than $1.3 billion of total losses.
  • Southern Plains/Southwest drought and heat wave, Spring-Fall 2011: Drought and excessive heat significantly affected Arizona, southern Kansas, western Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Total direct losses to crops, livestock and timber have approached $10 billion.
  • Mississippi River flooding, Spring-Summer 2011: Rainfall that was nearly 300 percent normal precipitation amounts in the Ohio Valley, as well as melting snow, caused historical flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Losses ranged from $3 billion-$4 billion.
  • Upper Midwest flooding, Summer 2011: Melting of an above-average snow pack across the Northern Rocky Mountains, as well as above-average precipitation, led the Missouri and Souris rivers to flood across the upper Midwest. Thousands of acres of farmland were flooded, and 4,000 homes were flooded in Minot, N.D. Estimated losses are more than $2 billion.
  • Hurricane Irene, Aug. 20-29, 2011: Hurricane Irene hit North Carolina and moved north along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, also reaching Virginia, Maryland and New York City. High winds and torrential rainfall caused more than $7.3 billion in damages.
  • Arizona/New Mexico/Texas wildfires, Spring-Fall 2011: Drought and extreme heat sparked a series of historic wildfires. More than 3 million acres burned in Texas during the wildfire season while more than 500,000 acres burned in Arizona and more than 150,000 acres burned in New Mexico. Losses exceeded $1 billion, with more than $750 million of losses in Texas alone.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Insurers on the fritz.

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