Droughts and Heat Waves

Droughts and Heat Waves

On January 20, 2014 Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in response to the worst drought conditions in California in a century. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, some parts of the state remain in the extreme drought classification, and coastal areas north of San Francisco as well as the Sierra Nevada are back in the extreme drought classification. The drought, which is technically in its third year, has been exacerbated by a lack of precipitation along the West Coast this winter, which is normally the rainy season. As of May 13, 2014, 38 percent of the contiguous 48 states was experiencing drought; 10 percent was in extreme and exceptional drought. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest seasonal assessment, issued on May 15, indicates that long-term drought is expected to continue in California, interior Oregon, the Great Basin states of Nevada and Utah, the Desert Southwest, including Arizona, the southern Rockies and the southern High Plains.  Drought, wildfires and heat waves caused 29 deaths and $385 million in insured losses in the United States in 2013, according to Munich Re.

NATURAL DISASTER LOSSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2013

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

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THE FIVE LARGEST NATURAL CATASTROPHES OF 2013 BY NUMBER OF FATALITIES (1)

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

GLOBAL CATASTROPHES, 2013

  Number of incidents Deaths Insured loss ($ millions)
Floods 53 8,633 $9,137
Storms 60 8,344 20,819
Earthquakes 12 1,095 45
Drought, bush fires, heat waves 8 1,335 609
Cold, frost 5 727 139
Hail 8 NA 6,164
Other natural catastrophes 4 67 134
Total natural catastrophes 150 20,201 $37,047
Man-made disasters 158 5,702 $7,870
All natural catatrophes (1) 308 25,903 $44,917

(1) Based on events classified by Swiss Re as a catastrophe. The threshold is $19.3 million in insured losses for maritime disasters, $38.6 million for aviation disasters and $48.0 million for other losses or $96 million in total economic losses; or at least 20 dead or missing, 50 injured or 2,000 made homeless.

NA=Data not available.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, 1/2014.

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THE TEN DEADLIEST WORLD CATASTROPHES, 1970-2013 (1)

Rank Date Country Event Victims
1 Nov. 14, 1970 Bangladesh, Bay of Bengal Storm and flood catastrophe 300,000
2 Jul. 28, 1976 China Earthquake (Mw 7.5) 255,000
3 Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake (Mw 7.0) 222,570
4 Dec. 26, 2004 Indonesia, Thailand et al. Earthquake (Mw 9), tsunami in Indian Ocean 220,000
5 May 2, 2008 Myanmar (Burma), Bay of Bengal Tropical cyclone Nargis; Irrawaddy Delta flooded 138,300
6 Apr. 29, 1991 Bangladesh Tropical cyclone Gorky 138,000
7 May 12, 2008 China Earthquake (Mw 7.9) in Sichuan, aftershocks 87,449
8 Oct. 8, 2005 Pakistan, India, Afghanistan Earthquake (Mw 7.6); aftershocks, landslides 73,300
9 May 31, 1970 Peru Earthquake (M 7.7); rock slides 66,000
10 Jun. 15, 2010 Russia Heat wave in Russia 55,630

(1) Dead and missing.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 1/2014.

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THE FIVE LARGEST NATURAL CATASTROPHES OF 2013 BY OVERALL LOSSES (1)

($ millions)

 

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.

THE FIVE LARGEST NATURAL CATASTROPHES OF 2013 BY NUMBER OF FATALITIES (1)

Source: © 2014 Munich Re, Geo Risks Research, NatCatSERVICE. As of January 2014.