Major environmental disasters: February 2017
- Published: Thursday, 16 March 2017 08:55
Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during February 2017.
The report highlights the five outbreaks of severe weather that hit the United States during February, one of which comprised 60 confirmed tornado touch-downs in the Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic. Among the hardest-hit states were Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee, as large hail and damaging winds also caused substantial impacts to homes, businesses, vehicles, and other structures. Total economic and insured losses from this one event were minimally estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars (USD).
Meanwhile, Windstorm Thomas became the costliest European windstorm of the year when it struck Western and Central Europe, killing three people. Preliminary insured loss estimates were above EUR100 million (USD105 million) in both the UK and Germany.
Elsewhere, a series of powerful thunderstorms tracked through regions of New South Wales, Australia, including the Greater Sydney Metro Area, leading to widespread damage and disruption. The Insurance Council of Australia and local insurers reported that at least 48,000 claims had been filed with payouts of at least AUD330 million (USD250 million). Economic losses were even higher.
Other natural hazard events to have occurred worldwide during February include:
- California storm systems killed at least eight people and caused hundreds of millions (USD) in damages. One event saw the evacuation of 200,000 residents as Lake Oroville reached full capacity.
- Two US winter weather outbreaks caused widespread disruption in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
- Major flood events occurred in Peru, Chile, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Australia.
- Winter storms in Afghanistan and Pakistan triggered avalanches that killed more than 200 people.
- Cyclone Dineo made landfall in Mozambique, killing at least seven people and injuring 101 others. More than 105,000 homes and 2,000 other buildings were damaged or destroyed while flooding devastated the local agricultural industry. Economic losses were listed at MZN1.2 billion (USD17 million).
- An outbreak of wildfires in Australia's New South Wales was sparked amid record-breaking heatwave conditions. More than 100 homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed. The Insurance Council of Australia reported that insured losses minimally reached AUD20 million (USD15 million).
- A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the southern Philippines killing eight people and injuring hundreds more. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed as economic losses were listed at PHP720 million (USD14 million). A further PHP2.0 billion (USD40 million) was made available for repairs.
Read the report (PDF).