Moore tornado insured losses estimated at $2.5bn


Regions of the US were affected by several severe windstorm events in May, including Moore, Oklahoma, where a catastrophic EF-5 tornado killed 24 people, injured 387 others, and damaged or destroyed up to 13,000 homes and structures.

Total economic losses from the event, which comprised at least 61 confirmed tornado touchdowns, were preliminarily estimated at $5bn, amid insured losses of at least $2.5bn. This is according to Impact Forecasting’s Global Catastrophe Recap report.

In a second prolonged severe weather event at least 76 tornadoes touched down, including an EF-5 tornado with 295 mph winds and a US-record 4.2km path width that struck El Reno, Oklahoma. Large hail (including a major hailstorm in Amarillo, Texas, that resulted in a $400m insured loss), flash flooding in the Plains and Midwest, and damaging winds in the Northeast were also recorded.

Total economic losses are expected to exceed $2bn, with insured losses above $1bn.

Two additional stretches of severe weather also affected parts of the Plains and the Southeast, causing a combined economic loss of $700m and insured losses of $375m.

“The month of May is historically the peak of tornado season in the US, and after a relatively benign start to the month, tornado activity became much more prevalent during the last two weeks,” said Impact Forecasting president Steve Jakubowski.

“Images from the aftermath of the EF-5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, show the destructive power of the peril and how devastating impacts can be when tornadoes of such magnitude track through densely populated areas. High insurance penetration will help to alleviate the pressure on those affected, and the recovery is already well under way.”

Severe weather was also noted in parts of Europe in May, with three tornadoes stricking northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, injuring at least 20 people, and damaging hundreds of homes in the Bologna and Modena regions. Total economic losses were estimated at €10m ($13.1m).

In Russia, an F2 tornado struck the town of Yefremov, injuring at least 20 people and resulting in a total economic loss of RUB100m ($3.2m).

Extensive flooding killed at least 11 people in Central Europe, with the most significant damage occurring in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Switzerland. Several major rivers and their tributaries burst their banks, including the Danube, Vltava, and Rhine, as thousands of homes, structures and vehicles were damaged. The event remains ongoing during the first week of June. Total economic losses were anticipated to reach billions of dollars.