In March, the most severe weather events carried names like Mike, Niklas and Pam. Also, the United States began to see a return to extreme springtime weather after an unusually slow start to the season, according to the latest global catastrophe roundup from Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting division.
The report blames windstorms Mike and Niklas (some dubbed it Cyclone Niklas) for killing at least nine people and causing widespread damage in central Europe at the end of March. Both events included hurricane-force winds that hit parts of Germany, the U.K., Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Poland, according to the report, which estimates that economic and insured losses from both storms should surpass $1 billion.
This assessment is partially in synch with AIR Worldwide’s preliminary damage tally for Niklas, which predicted insured losses will hit between $1-2 billion.
For the U.S., the report cited a big increase in major weather activity by the end of March. Of note – two separate multi-day storms left hail, major winds and tornado damage across the Plains, Midwest and Southeast, causing economic and insured losses expected to reach hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Winter didn’t entirely go away, either, with late season storms slamming into the Southwest, Rockies, Plains, South, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Those weather events killed at least 13 people, caused $175 million in economic losses and left insured losses exceeding $110 million, according to the report.
Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting also points to a number of other weather events in March that caused considerable damage around the world. Among them:
- Cyclone Pam, which caused catastrophic damage in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, killing at least 11 people and injuring several others. According to the report, the storm damaged or destroyed up to 90 percent of homes and structures, and is the strongest cyclone to make landfall since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
- Cyclones Nathan and Olwyn, which hit landfall in Australia multiple times, harming the nation’s agriculture sector.
- Super Typhoon Maysak killed at least nine people across Micronesia.
- An historic flash flood event hit Chile’s northern Atacama and Antofagasta regions, killing at least 25 people and damaging or destroying up to 14,000 homes. In addition, a number of earthquakes hit China in March, damaging 33,000 homes and killing two people. The economic loss estimate: $40 million.
- Hail damage caused more than $275 million in economic losses to agriculture lands and construction facilities in northwestern and Southern China.
Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting