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With California Earthquake Loss at $1 Billion, 2014 Figures May Cross 2013 Natural Disaster Losses

The latest California earthquake on Sunday measuring 6.0 magnitude on Richter scale caused damage to major structures, ignited fires and rendered more than 100 residents in hospitals for treatment and estimates show that the loss would be around $1 billion.

Extreme weather events and other natural disasters claimed the lives of more than 2,700 people and caused around $42 billion in damage worldwide in the first half of 2014, but this was well below the first half of last year and a 10-year average, according to new research from reinsurer Munich Re.

The highest economic losses arose in the USA (35%), followed by Europe and Asia (30% each). “Of course, it is good news that natural catastrophes have been relatively mild so far”, said Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s Board member responsible for global reinsurance business. “But we should not forget that there has been no change in the overall risk situation.

The record winter in the U.S. and Canada caused significant losses in the first half 2014 amounting to around $3.4 bilion. The most costly snowstorm was in the first week of January that caused losses that totalled $2.5 billion, of which $1.7 billion was insured.

Even in 2013, there were 9 natural disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included a drought event, 2 flooding events, and 6 severe storm events, which caused deaths of 113 people, said an NOAA report. It found three of the nine billion-dollar events had less coverage of insured assets and the remaining 6 events had complete insurance coverage.

Below is a historical table of U.S. Billion-dollar disaster events and statistics for the 1980– 2013 period of record. It also shows how the different types of identified U.S. Billion-dollar disaster events have changed over time, after inflation adjustment exceed the one-billion dollar threshold, 9 previously unidentified events surfaced, and 2 additional events that occurred in 2013:

Below is a table of the losses caused in 2013 due to weather or climate disasters in the U.S.:

Weather/Climate Billion-Dollar Disasters to affect the U.S. in 2013 (CPI-Adjusted)
EVENT BEGIN
DATE
END
DATE
SUMMARY CPI-ADJUSTED
ESTIMATED
COST
(BILLIONS OF DOLLARS)[1]
DEATHS
Spring-Fall 2013
2013-03-01 2013-11-30 The 2013 drought slowly dissipated from the historic levels of the 2012 drought, as conditions improved across many Midwestern and Plains states. However, moderate to extreme drought did remain or expand into western states (AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY). In comparison to 2011 and 2012 drought conditions the US experienced only moderate crop losses across the central agriculture states. $10 53
November 17, 2013
2013-11-17 2013-11-17 Late-season outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather over the Ohio Valley (IL, IN, MO, OH, KY, MI) with 70 confirmed tornadoes. Most severe impacts occurred across Illinois and Indiana. $1 8
September 10-16 2013
2013-09-10 2013-09-16 A stalled frontal boundary over Colorado led to record rainfall, as some areas received > 15 inches over several days. This resulted in historic flooding across numerous cities and towns. Destruction of residences, businesses and transportation infrastructure was widespread. $2 9
August 6-7 2013
2013-08-06 2013-08-07 Severe weather and large hail causes considerable damage across Minnesota and Wisconsin. $1 0
May 27-31 2013
2013-05-27 2013-05-31 Outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather over the Midwest, Plains and Northeast (OK, TX, KS, MO, IL, IN, NY) with 92 confirmed tornadoes including the deadly tornado that struck El Reno, OK. There was also significant damage resulting from hail and straight-line wind. $2 10
May 18-22 2013
2013-05-18 2013-05-22 Outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather over the Midwest, Plains and Eastern states (OK, TX, IL, KS, MO, IA, GA, NY) with 59 confirmed tornadoes including the deadly tornado that impacted Moore, OK. Many destructive tornadoes remained on the ground for an extended time. $3 27
April 16-19 2013
2013-04-16 2013-04-19 A slow-moving storm system created rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches across northern and central Illinois including the Chicago metro. This resulted in damage to many homes and businesses. There was also severe weather damage from wind and hail across Indiana and Missouri. $1 4
April 7-11, 2013
2013-04-07 2013-04-11 Severe weather across the Midwest and Plains states (KS, NE, MO, IN) with a total of 26 confirmed tornadoes. Considerable damage resulting from hail and straight-line wind. $1 1
March 18, 2013
2013-03-18 2013-03-18 Severe weather over the Southeast (MS, AL, GA, TN) with 10 confirmed tornadoes. Considerable damage resulting from large hail and straight-line wind. $2 1

[1]Cost estimates are rounded to nearest billion-dollars. Ongoing research is seeking to define uncertainty and confidence intervals around the cost of each event.

†Please note hyperlinked reports were compiled using preliminary data, and the statistics will not always match the latest figures presented here.

Below is a historical table of U.S. Billion-dollar disaster events and statistics for the 1980–2013 period of record. It also shows how the different types of identified U.S. Billion-dollar disaster events have changed over time, after inflation adjustment exceed the one-billion dollar threshold, 9 previously unidentified events surfaced, and 2 additional events that occurred in 2013:

New Billion-Dollar (CPI-Adjusted) Events:

1. Southern Severe Storms and Flooding (April 1980)
2. Midwest/Southeast/Northeast Winter Storm/Coldwave (January 1982)
3. Midwest/Plains/Southeast Tornadoes (April 1982)
4. Severe Storms and Hail (June 1984)
5. Western Severe Storms and Flooding (February 1986)
6. Hurricane Lili (October 2002)
7. Midwest/Plains Severe Weather (July 2003)
8. Midwest/Northeast Severe Storms and Flooding (July 2010)

Previously Unidentified Billion-Dollar Events:

1. Southeast Drought (Summer 1983)
2. Florida Freeze (December 1989)
3. U.S. Drought (Spring-Summer 1991)
4. Western/Central Drought/Heatwave (Spring-Fall 2003)
5. Southeast Tornadoes (March 2008)
6. Southern Severe Weather (April 2008)
7. Colorado Severe Weather (July 2009)
8. Ohio Valley/South Tornadoes (April 2011)
9. Midwest/Southeast Severe Weather (August 2011)

New 2013 Billion-Dollar Events:

1. Illinois Flooding and Severe Weather (April 2013)
2. Midwest Severe Weather (August 2013)

 

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