Droughts and Heat Waves

Drought

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), as of July 14, 2015, Moderate to Exceptional drought is impacting 25.1 percent of the area of the United States and 26 percent of the lower 48 states. Drought impacts 79.5 million people in the United States.  Long term drought coupled with increasing potential for offshore winds will keep wildfire potential elevated in California through October. In response to California’s historic drought which began in 2012, on May 5, 2015, for the first time in the state’s history, mandatory water restrictions were ordered by California’s governor Jerry Brown.

Heat Waves

According to the National Weather Service heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses. June 2015 was the warmest June on record for the globe according to the National Center for Environmental Information.

 

NATURAL DISASTER LOSSES IN THE UNITED STATES, FIRST HALF 2015

 

Source: © 2015 Munich Re, NatCatSERVICE. As of June 2015.

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GLOBAL CATASTROPHES, 2014

  Number of incidents Deaths Insured loss ($ millions)
Floods 61 3,064 $9,137
Storms 85 1,195 18,397
Earthquakes 15 897 313
Drought, bush fires, heat waves 10 335 150
Cold, frost 6 745 53
Hail 5 7 6,164
Other natural catastrophes 7 823 34
Total natural catastrophes 189 7,066 $27,749
Man-made disasters 147 5,711 $6,958
All catatrophes (1) 336 12,777 $34,708

(1) Based on events classified by Swiss Re as a catastrophe. The threshold is $19.6 million in insured losses for maritime disasters, $39.3 million for aviation disasters and $48.8 million for other losses or $97.6 million in total economic losses; or at least 20 dead or missing, 50 injured or 2,000 made homeless.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, 2/2015.

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TOP TEN DEADLIEST WORLD CATASTROPHES, 1970-2014

Rank Date Country Event Victims (1)
1 Nov. 11, 1970 Bangladesh Storm and flood catastrophe 300,000
2 Jul. 28, 1976 China Earthquake (M 7.5) 255,000
3 Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake (Mw 7.0), aftershocks 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 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 74,310
9 May 31, 1970 Peru Earthquake (M 7.7), massive avalanche and floods 66,000
10 Jun. 15, 2010 Russia, Czech Republic  Heat wave with temperatures up to 40 Celsius 55,630

(1) Dead and missing.

Source: Swiss Re, sigma, No. 2/2015.

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