Drought OfficialSevere drought in the western U.S. caused economic losses in August of at least $3 billion, mostly from agricultural damage in California, Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting said in a new report.

Impact Forecasting catastrophe model development team said that several Caribbean and Central American nations are also experiencing drought conditions and have issued alerts as they worsen. Drought conditions also affected Eastern Europe and Africa in August, «with combined economic losses of more than $2.6 billion occurring in Romania, Czech Republic, and Poland.

Aon/Impact Forecasting added that as El Niño continues to grow stronger in the months ahead, global drought losses should surpass current predictions of $8.0 billion in economic damage.

“As we continue to see the prospect of El Niño becoming one of the strongest in decades, more and more impacts will be apparent around the world, Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said in prepared remarks.

According to the report, a number of countries around the world have dealt with a severe lack of rain and resulting impact to agriculture. The flip side: tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean was robust, in August, thanks to above-average sea surface temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions. Resulting storms that hit land in the Asia-Pacific region caused major damage during the month, with more storms expected as cyclone season reaches its peak, Impact Forecasting said.

August also saw Super Typhoon Soudelor track through Saipan, Taiwan, and China. causing economic losses in excess of $3.2 billion. Soudelor was followed by Typhoon Goni which caused major problems in the Philippines, the Korean peninsula, and Japan, killing at least 70 people, damaging tens of thousands of homes and causing economic losses well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The report also listed tother damage-causing storm events in August:
• Tropical Storm Erika hit Dominica, Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, killing 36 people and causing economic losses of around $100 million.
• Heavy monsoon rains killed hundreds of people throughout Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
• Record U.S. flooding in the greater Tampa, Florida metro region caused widespread property and automobile damage.
• A severe weather outbreak prompted economic losses of $475 million and insured losses of $325 million in the U.S., mainly due to hail and damaging straight-line winds.
• China experienced two severe weather outbreaks that prompted economic losses of more than $340 million.
• Severe weather killed 20 people in Sudan.
• The western third of the U.S., Canada’s British Columbia province, and southern and central portions of Europe all suffered damaging wildfire outbreaks during August. The costs of fighting the fires soared to well beyond $1.0 billion globally.
• Heatwave conditions throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa killed at least 125 people.

Click here to view the full Impact Forecasting August 2015 Global Catastrophe Recap report.

Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting