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Roundup of September’s major environmental disasters

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 September 2016. 

The report highlights that Hurricane Hermine became the first hurricane to make Florida landfall in more than a decade, when it came ashore as a Category 1 strength storm near St. Marks, Florida, bringing torrential rain and storm surge flooding to coastal sections of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The storm claimed at least three lives as flooding and high winds caused widespread damage and hundreds of thousands of power outages in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, with additional disruption and minor damage was reported into New York and New Jersey. Total economic losses were estimated at above USD800 million, while public and private insurers anticipated insured losses of around USD400 million.

Hermine was the first hurricane to strike the state of Florida since Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.

Meanwhile, a weakened Super Typhoon Meranti made landfall in China's Fujian Province after first grazing southern Taiwan and the northern Philippines province of Batanes. At least 44 people were killed and dozens more were injured, as more than 70,000 homes and vast cropland was damaged or destroyed. Overall economic losses were USD2.4 billion, with the vast majority reported in China (USD2.3 billion).

Other notable tropical cyclones during September included Typhoon Megi (USD940 million), Typhoon Malakas (USD100 million), and Hurricane Newton (USD10 million).

Further natural hazard events to have occurred worldwide in September include:

  • A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck Tanzania, killing at least 23 people and injuring 600 others. The government cited TZS1.0 trillion (USD458 million) was needed for recovery efforts in the Kagera region.
  • Rare earthquake events were noted in the US state of Oklahoma (magnitude 5.8), South Korea (magnitude 5.4), and Macedonia (magnitude 5.3).
  • Torrential downpours in India's Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states led to catastrophic flooding, killing at least 28 people. Local officials reported economic damage totaling INR32 billion (USD479 million).
  • Deadly and damaging flood events were recorded in Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico, Greece, Australia, and the US.
  • The Soberanes Fire continued to burn in California's Los Padres National Forest throughout September, after first igniting on July 22nd. The blaze became the most expensive fire to fight in US history (USD235 million) and burned a total of 132,092 acres (53,455 hectares).
  • Rounds of severe thunderstorms led to nearly three-dozen fatalities and more than USD300 million in economic losses around the globe. China and Nigeria were particularly impacted.
To view the full Impact Forecasting September 2016 Global Catastrophe Recap report, click here.

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