Major environmental disasters: January 2017

Published: Monday, 13 February 2017 09:03

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield's catastrophe model development team, has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report. This evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred around the world during January 2017.

The report highlights the multiple severe weather outbreaks that killed 27 people in the United States during January, causing economic losses of more than USD 1.0 billion, and insured losses minimally in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The most prolific event occurred during the second half of the month, most heavily impacting the states of Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida. Thousands of homes, businesses and other structures were damaged or destroyed, and states of emergency were declared in Mississippi and Georgia.

The US National Weather Service preliminarily confirmed that at least 130 tornadoes touched down during the month: the highest number of January tornadoes since 1999, when 212 tornadoes touched down.

Additionally, consecutive winter storms brought extreme precipitation across the US West. The most significant damage was recorded in California due to flash flooding, mudslides and debris flows.

Total economic losses from the early January event were expected to approach USD 700 million, while public and private insurance losses were listed around USD 300 million.

Other natural catastrophe events to have occurred during January include:

View the full Impact Forecasting January 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap report (PDF).