An onslaught of U.S. storms and flooding in March caused as much as $2 billion in economic damage. Public and private insurers were likely to see losses surpass $1 billion, Aon plc said in its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report.
The causes of all damage? Aon said multiple severe weather outbreaks in the United States were to blame, including tornadoes, hail, and flooding,
The most notable outbreaks – March 22-23, 24-26, and 27-28 – included severe weather across the Central and Southern U.S., with 122 tornadoes touching down during the month, killing at least seven people. Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee saw the most damage.
Tornadoes were hardly the whole problem. Aon notes there were also hundreds of reports of large hail and damaging straight-line winds that caused extensive property damage. The Tennessee Valley saw significant flooding as a result, and the greater Nashville metro region saw a number of rivers swell beyond their banks.
March weather events also caused plenty of trouble around the world.
- A series of frontal systems and an East Coast Low (cyclone), which led to extensive flooding across parts of eastern Australia from March 10-24, killing at least two people. The event resulted in widespread inundation to thousands of properties and swaths of infrastructure and agriculture in New South Wales and Queensland. The Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe. Approximately 36,000 claims were filed, with an estimated insured loss of AUD537 million ($410 million). The overall economic loss is expected to approach $2 billion.
- Windstorms Klaus and Luis, which affected parts of Western and Central Europe on March 10-13 with strong winds. Both storms caused moderate losses, with notable impacts in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, northern France and the United Kingdom. Local insurers were faced with tens of thousands of claims.
- Persistent seasonal rains and severe weather, which continued to impact portions of western Colombia throughout the month. At least 53 weather-related fatalities have occurred since January 1, Aon said. A public calamity was declared in the Valle del Cauca Department due to damage to roadways, homes and crops.
- Heavy rain affected northwestern Algeria (particularly Chlef Province) on March 6, causing flash floods that resulted in casualties and damage. More than 500 families have been affected. Local media reported that 10 people were left dead or missing.
- Severe sand and dust storm conditions affected wide swaths of Mongolia and China from March 12-16. At least 21 people were left dead or missing, millions of livestock were killed and hundreds of yurts were destroyed in Mongolia.