Category Archives: Tornadoes

Texas Tornadoes and Hail

As well as strong winds and heavy rains, hail – ranging from pea to baseball size – was a feature of the massive tornadoes that touched down in the Dallas Fort Worth area yesterday.

Specifically, the Dallas-Fort Worth international airport reported that more than 100 aircraft were damaged by hail, according to CNN.

Hail causes about $1 billion in damage to crops and property each year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Pea size hail measures an estimated  ¼ inch in diameter, while baseball size hail would measure about 2  ¾ inches.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reminds us that hail damage is covered under standard homeowners insurance. It is also covered under your auto policy provided you have comprehensive coverage.

Some insurers may have special deductibles in hail prone areas, to help keep insurance premiums at affordable levels.

Physical damage to aircraft as a result of hail would be covered under a hull insurance policy.

The I.I.I. reports there were over 9,000 major hail storms in 2010, according to statistics from NOAA’s Severe Storms database. Texas had the largest number of severe hail events in 2010, followed by Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Learn  how  to protect your home from hail in this I.I.I. video:

Tornado Tally

Damage assessments have begun in the wake of Friday’s powerful storm system that brought a massive outbreak of tornadoes across the Midwest and South and left 39 dead.

So far, the National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed 42 tornadoes from Friday: Indiana – 3; Virginia – 1; North Carolina – 2; Ohio – 5; West Virginia – 2; Kentucky – 8; Tennessee – 8; Alabama – 7; Mississippi – 1; Georgia – 5.

However, this number will rise as NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged 107 preliminary tornado reports from Friday’s outbreak, according to Dr. Jeff Masters’ Wunderblog.

Dr. Masters notes that these preliminary reports are typically over counted by 15 percent and predicts the total number of tornadoes from Friday’s outbreak will probably finish in the 90 to 100 range.

The severe weather also brought damaging winds and hail.

Friday’s outbreak follows a separate storm system earlier in the week that spawned several tornadoes in the Midwest. The severe weather 28/29 February caused widespread property damage and left at least 12 dead.

NOAA issued 440 tornado warnings and 606 thunderstorm warnings last week alone. USA Today has an interesting article on how tornado forecasts saved countless lives.

The Insurance Information Institute’s facts and statistics are a useful resource on the insurance implications of tornadoes.

Latest information can also be found at Guy Carpenter’s online CAT-i bulletins and catastrophe modeling firm EQECAT’s CatWatch catastrophe reports.

See an animation of Friday’s developing severe weather system via NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite below:

Tornado Activity Picks Up

Tornadoes were the costliest type of natural disaster in the United States in 2011, based on insured losses, according to Munich Re.

Insured losses from tornadoes/thunderstorms totaled more than $25 billion last year, more than double the previous record.

Only two months into 2012, and a series of tornadoes has struck the Midwest U.S. causing fatalities and significant damage in certain areas.

The tornado that hit Harrisburg, Illinois, rated an EF4—the second most powerful on the rating scale—according to the National Weather Service, resulted in six deaths, nearly 100 injuries and at least 200 homes destroyed or damaged.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reminds us that standard homeowners and business insurance policies cover wind damage to the structure of the building and its contents caused by tornadoes and thunderstorms.

Preliminary data from NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center show there have been 128 tornadoes in 2012 so far, causing nine deaths.

For the whole of 2011 the preliminary count is 1,709 tornadoes, causing 550 deaths. Actual figures for 2010 show there were 1,282 tornadoes and 45 related deaths.

In May 2011 a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and surrounding areas caused 159 fatalities, making it the deadliest tornado since modern record keeping began in 1950, according to NOAA.

Read more about how residents in Joplin, Missouri have begun updating the city’s tornado warning sirens over at the Disaster Safety Blog (official blog of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

Here’s a visual of preliminary tornado reports from January 1, 2012 to February 29, 2012, courtesy of NOAA’s SPC: