Global catastrophe losses in October expected to top USD10bn; new record of 22 global tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere that reached Category 4 or 5 intensity.
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 October 2015.
The report reveals that the expected USD2.0 billion minimum economic cost of the South Carolina and eastern US floods will place the event as one of the top 10 costliest non-tropical cyclone flood events in the country since 1980. Public and private insurers have already reported more than USD400 million in payouts.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Patricia became the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere when its maximum sustained wind speeds reached 200 mph (325 km/h) and made landfall in Mexico. Preliminary economic damage was estimated at USD300 million but, given low insurance penetration in the hardest-hit areas, insured losses were expected to be negligible. This cyclone contributed to a record 22 global tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere that have reached Category 4 or 5 intensity in 2015, breaking the previous record of 18 set in 2004. Most of these storms in 2015 have been in the Pacific Ocean, which is to be expected given the very warm sea surface temperatures that have been enhanced by El Nino's intensity.
Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said: "October ended as one of the most active, and costly, months of 2015 for natural disasters. Many of the major weather events – such as record-breaking tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean, the historic South Carolina floods, and deepening global droughts – were clearly impacted by the current El Nino's growing fingerprint on global weather patterns. Given the increasing intensity of El Nino, it is expected that these impacts will become even more defined around the world as we enter the boreal late autumn and winter months."
Elsewhere in October:
- A major magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck northern Afghanistan on October 26, shaking a large part of the country as well as portions of Tajikistan, Pakistan and India with at least 403 people confirmed dead;
- Typhoon Mujigae became the costliest tropical cyclone of 2015 after making separate landfalls in China and the Philippines;
- Super Typhoon Koppu made landfall in the Philippines as a strong Category 4 typhoon, killing at least 58 people and injuring 83 others;
- Major Hurricane Joaquin lashed the Bahamas before tracking past Bermuda;
- Severe thunderstorms in the French Riviera impacted areas from Monaco to Frejus, prompting massive flash flooding;
- Drought conditions worsened in Papua New Guinea as El Niño impacts intensified globally.
Read the full report here.