Flooding was the main theme of the month, with significant incidents in the US, China and Australia.
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 May 2015.
The report highlights that powerful thunderstorms caused major flooding across the US states of Texas and Oklahoma during the month, killing 41 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes in Texas alone, resulting in what proved to be the wettest May on record for both states.
Meanwhile, severe weather prompted 412 preliminary reports of tornadoes by the US Storm Prediction Center – which would equal the highest monthly number of US tornadoes since April 2011 (758).
Total aggregated severe thunderstorm and flood economic losses for May were expected to near USD 3.0 billion, with overall insured losses set to easily exceed USD 1.0 billion despite low flood insurance penetration in parts of Oklahoma and Texas.
Further natural disaster events to have occurred in May included:
- Significant flooding in China that killed 81 people, damaged or destroyed nearly 100,000 homes, and resulted in total combined economic losses estimated to be greater than USD 3.0 billion.
- Flash floods In Australia that caused widespread damage to property and agricultural interests. The Insurance Council of Australia reported that insurance payouts totalled AUD 360 million (USD 280 million).
- An intense heatwave in India that impacted multiple states and killed at least 2,500 people – one of the highest death tolls from a heatwave recorded in recent history.
- A major magnitude 7.3 earthquake near Mount Everest on May 12, which killed at least 131 people in Nepal, India, and China, bringing the death toll from the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes to nearly 9,000.
- Super Typhoon Noul, which swept across the Philippines, Yap, and Japan's Okinawa, killing two people and causing Philippines losses of PHP 16.3 million (USD366,000), and Okinawa crop losses of JPY2.8 billion (USD 23.2 million).
To view the full Impact Forecasting May 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report click here (PDF).