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Significant tornado outbreak damages multiple U.S. states


A significant outbreak of tornadoes and severe convective weather struck a number of southern U.S. states last night and into this morning, with widespread damage experienced and deaths expected to run to between 50 and 100.

super-cell-severe-storm-tornadoesThe tornadoes and outbreak of severe thunderstorms was driven by weather patterns that resulted in numerous severe weather warnings and ultimately saw tornado emergencies raised for a wide swath of the U.S., across Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky.

In fact, the storm activity from Friday night into Saturday morning is being termed particularly severe for December, while one long-tracked tornado is thought to have crossed all four of the states mentioned, with damage experienced across a significant footprint as a result.

That would be the first quad-state tornado in history and some reports suggest the track may break records, running for more than 210 miles and as much as 4 hours on the ground, while the tornado warning for this particular super cell system ran for over 7 hours, travelling from Arkansas almost into Ohio.

More than 30 tornadoes are currently thought to have formed during this outbreak across multiple states, with some meteorologists suggesting that at least one will have been an EF5, the most severe grading on the Fujita Scale, while others are thought to have been EF4 intensity.

Sources suggest the eventual insurance and reinsurance market loss from this severe weather outbreak is likely to extend into the billions of dollars, but how high is impossible to estimate at this early stage.

Weekend tornado & storm losses to run into billions of dollars.

Steve Bowen, Head of Catastrophe Insight at insurance and reinsurance broker Aon tweeted the below, highlighting the potential for significant damages and loss of life:

An Amazon distribution warehouse was badly hit in Edwardsville, Illinois, with a significant casualty event expected there by authorities and likely a significant insurance claim.

The most significant loss of life has been reported in Mayfield, Kentucky, where terrible scenes of widespread destruction are emerging and local authorities suggest between 50 and 100 deaths will ultimately be reported.

It’s expected to be the most deadly and perhaps destructive Kentucky tornado outbreak, with a large number of the deaths expected to come from a factor that was destroyed.

Brandon Clement, of WxChasing, tweeted video and images showing the scale of the damage suffered in Mayfield, Kentucky:

But property damage from this tornado and more broadly across at least four states from the significant severe convective storm activity, will likely aggregate into a relatively significant insurance and perhaps reinsurance market loss.

As ever, it’s impossible to foresee just how costly this severe storm and tornado outbreak could be, either on an economic or insured loss basis.

But given the wide-reaching impacts, the severity of the damage images coming out of some of these states, the associated property damage from strong straight-line winds, hail and other storm effects outside of the tornadoes, it’s possible the industry will need to brace for a relatively significant loss pronouncement, one of, if not the most costly severe storm outbreak of the year, once more data is available.

2021 has already seen more than $20 billion in insurance industry losses from severe weather, according to some data providers.

This tornado outbreak will drive the total a good deal higher it seems and the cost will be unusual for a December outbreak.

Also read:

Weekend tornado & storm losses to run into billions of dollars.

Tornadoes to affect some aggregate cat bonds: Plenum.

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