The series of severe convective storms that broke out in the U.S. over the last week are estimated to cause total economic and insured losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, suggests Aon.
The devastating weather affected multiple states in the lower Mississippi River Valley and the Southeast of the United States between March 23-27.
Aon states that tornadoes claimed at least 22 lives, injured tens of others, and caused significant material damage across the region.
Further damage was suffered due to widespread hail, non-tornadic winds and localised flooding as a result of isolated intense precipitation.
Aon writes, “Due to the widespread nature of the outbreak and severe structural damage as a result of multiple tornadoes, total economic and insured losses from the event were initially anticipated to reach into the hundreds of millions USD.”
The severe weather activity first ensued on March 23, with impacts from large hail and strong winds observed in an extended corridor spanning from Texas through Oklahoma to southern Missouri and Illinois.
On March 24, the trough moved quickly eastward from the Western United States across the Southern Plains and Mid-Mississippi Valley.
Aon explains that the most severe storms developed across Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, with the most severe impacts associated with tornadic activity and also with heavy rain, which led to localised flooding.
The most significant tornado, rated EF-4, impacted the towns of Rolling Fork and Silver City in Mississippi, tracking 59.4 mi (96 km).
On March 25-26, the focus of the thunderstorm activity shifted further to the southeast and was
channelled to an area that extended from Louisiana to Western Georgia and again produced a mix of
large hail, heavy rain and strong winds, along with additional tornadic activity.
Aon continued, “Material damage related to the severe weather impacts was primarily reported from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia.
“Cities of Rolling Fork, Midnight and Silver City in Mississippi were the worst affected by long-tracked violent EF4-tornado that caused substantial material losses and left 16 people dead.
“Another intense EF3-tornadoes caused widespread material and tree damage across Black Hawk, Winona, Amory and Smithville communities in Mississippi, claiming several additional fatalities and injuries, totalling 21 deaths in Sharkey (13), Humphreys (3), Carrol (3), and Monroe (2) counties. One person was killed in Alabama, according to an SPC’s report.”
The firm concluded, “The widespread impacts associated with this multi-day outbreak are likely to result in notable economic losses, as well as another costly event for the insurance industry.
Aggregated effects of the storms were anticipated to reach into the hundreds of millions USD.”