June 2021 left Europe with its costliest severe storm period on record. Meanwhile, over in the U.S. in Canada, record-setting heatwaves caused significant damage, according to Aon’s latest natural catastrophe report.
Aon said Europe will face insured losses of more than $3.4 billion, and overall losses far higher, thanks to “a significant and prolonged” patch of severe weather from June 17-25. The Czech Republic, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria were particularly affected.
“Multi-billion-dollar insured thunderstorm outbreaks are not regularly common in Europe, but they can and do happen,” Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, said in prepared remarks.
Among the worst events from that period: a powerful F4 tornado that devasted the Czech region of South Moravia, killing six people. The twister was the strongest on record for the Czech Republic. That week also brough widespread hail, wind and flood damage to many other parts of Europe, Aon noted.
Severe weather returned to Central Europe on June 28-30, with large hail causing damage in central Switzerland and Austria, while many parts of Germany experienced flooding. Aon said that total aggregated insurance impacts from combined weather outbreaks created the costliest stretch of severe weather in European history and fifth costliest globally, with combined losses estimated by the national insurance sectors at $4.5 billion. That surpasses the previous European record of $4.3 billion set by storm Andreas in 2013.
Insurers in Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic recorded their costliest stretches of severe weather on record, while Germany experienced the second costliest.
A prolonged period of historic heat did damage over the same period in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Canada, causing more than 630 fatalities (Canada: 500+, United States: 138+), with the total likely to rise. Temperatures hit daily, monthly and all-time records, including many records that were broken in consecutive days.
Among the standouts: the state of Washington in the U.S. equaled the statewide heat record with a reading of 118°F (47.8°C). Canada set a new all-time record temperature record on June 29; 121°F (49.6°C) at Lytton, British Columbia. The heat resulted in nearly 200 wildfires in Canada, record energy demands, and notable agricultural losses.
Further natural hazard events that occurred worldwide in June include:
- Torrential rains, flash flooding, hurricane-force winds, and wintry weather across parts of eastern and southern Australia from June 9-11. At least two people were killed. At least 20,000 claims had been filed with payouts listed at AUD182 million ($137 million). Total economic losses were even higher.
- Torrential rainfall and severe thunderstorms led to significant flash flooding across parts of the mid-Mississippi River Valley and the southern Plains in the United States in early June. The total economic cost from the entire event approached $950 million, with agricultural damage in Mississippi and Arkansas due to flooding alone expected to exceed $800 million.
- The seasonal Southwest Monsoon arrived in India in early June, with periods of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms affected several states across the country. At least 59 people were killed (including at least 27 lightning fatalities in West Bengal), and roughly 2,000 structures damaged to date.
- Tropical Storm Claudette and Tropical Storm Danny both affected the United States in June. Claudette resulted in at least 14 storm-related fatalities as heavy rains, high winds, and severe thunderstorms affected many states across the U.S. South. Danny’s impacts in South Carolina were largely negligible.