January’s cluster of winter storms and extreme cold have likely caused $1 billion in economic losses in the United States, according to Aon’s January 2019 Global Catastrophe Recap.
A number of weather events are to blame for those economic losses, including:
- A Pacific storm system with heavy rainfall, mountain snow, high winds and mudslides that struck parts of Washington, Oregon and California. Total economic losses reached up to $125 million, and insurers covered $75 million of that, Aon said.
- Heavy snow and freezing rain caused wide-ranging damage and disruption across the central and eastern U.S. from Jan. 11-14, killing 13 people. States of emergency were declared in Virginia and North Carolina, and total economic/insured losses should reach into the millions of dollars.
- A Pacific storm brought heavy rainfall, flooding, snow, gusty winds and landslides across parts of California and Oregon from Jan. 16-18. Total economic losses hit $275 million, with public/private insurers covering roughly $175 million.
- Heavy snowfall, freezing rain, ice, rain and thunderstorms slammed parts of the eastern U.S. from Jan. 18-21. Ten people were killed.
- A surge of Arctic air from Jan. 22-24 brought sub-zero (F) temperatures to the Midwest and Northeast. Total economic and insured losses were each expected to surpass $100 million.
- Heavy snow, ice and the coldest temperatures in decades engulfed much of the eastern U.S. from Jan. 29-31. At least 22 people were killed as actual air temperatures in parts of the Upper Midwest dropped below -50°F (-45.6°C). Total economic and insured losses were expected to reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The rest of the world saw some serious damage-causing weather events, including torrential seasonal rains that caused $2.3 billion in economic losses to the agriculture sector in Argentina, seasonal flooding in Indonesia that caused 80 deaths, and Windstorm Alfrida, which caused minor damage in five European countries and led to thousands of insurance claim filings.