At least four separate winter storms affected the United States during February causing widespread damage, but insured losses resulting from these events were lower than expected, according to Aon Benfield.
The most deadly of the winter storms was a powerful Nor-easter which killed at least 15 people and affected more than 60 million citizens. A state of emergency was declared in six states.
The storm brought heavy snowfall of 40 inches in Connecticut, and coastal flooding in Massachusetts Ã¢â‚¬“ including the city of Boston. Total economic losses were estimated at roughly $100 million, with only a modest number of insurance claims filed.
The report also makes mention of the meteor explosion above RussiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Urals region that injured 1,491 people. Aon Benfield says:
A major winter storm, with blizzard conditions,Ã‚ is bearing down on the Northeast and New England, with between one and even up to three feet of snow expected in certain areas Friday night through Saturday.
Here in New Jersey the snow is already falling and blizzard warnings are in effect from here to southern Maine, including the New York City metro area and Long Island, Boston, Hartford, Providence, and Portland, Maine.
The National Weather Service warns that in addition to the snowfall amounts, wind gusts as high as 60-75 mph will have a significant impact on transportation and power. Coastal flooding is also possible from Boston northward.
As CNN reports, the storm is on a trajectory similar to that taken by superstorm Sandy.
From 1992-2011, winter storms resulted in about $28 billion in insured losses, according to ISO. Insured annual U.S. winter storm losses in 2012 totaled $38 million, following losses of over $2 billion in 2011, according to Munich Re.
For more facts and statistics, including the 15 costliest U.S. winters by insured losses click here.
Dr. Masters adds that word on the street is that NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s National Climatic Data Center will probably end up classifying last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s October 30-31 NorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢easter as 2011Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s 15th billion-dollar weather disaster.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s animation of the stormÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s movement April 20-23 from the GOES-13 satellite:
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)Ã‚ reportsÃ‚ that winter storms are historically very expensive and are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes. From 1991 to 2010, winter storms resulted in about $26 billion in insured losses, according to ISO.
In the first six months of 2011, insured U.S. winter storm losses totaled $1.4 billion, according to Munich Re. That figure does not include losses arising in the second half of the year, for example from the October snowstorm which caused significant damage in the Northeast.
This large, sprawling winter storm impacted many central, eastern and northeastern states leaving at least 36 dead and causing insured losses greater than $1 billion.
The city of Chicago was brought to a virtual standstill as up to 2 feet of snow fell in the area.
As a result of that blizzard the city is now taking a more hi-tech approach in its snow-response. The New York Times reports that a new city web site ChicagoShovels.org includes among other thingsÃ‚ a snowplow trackerÃ‚ that mapsÃ‚ ChicagoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s approximately 300 snowplows making their way in real time through the city.
If like me one of the first news headlines you saw this morning was about the life-threatening storm of epic magnitude bearing down on Alaska, you probably wanted to know more, so hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the low-down.
According to the National Weather Service, a major Bering Sea Storm is bearing down on Western Alaska with a mix of strong winds, high seas, blizzard conditions, major coastal flooding, and the potential to cause widespread damage.
This is expected to be one of the most severe Bering Sea storms on record, forecast to have sustained winds of 80 mph over an area the size of Colorado and produce storm surge effects on the Alaskan coast 8 to 10 feet above normal water levels. The Alaskan city of Nome is in its path.
Major differences between the 1974 storm and this storm include the fact that tides were much greater in the 1974 storm. However, sea ice extent is currently much lower than it was in 1974, thus providing no protection along the coast and greater fetch, the NWS says.
As clean-up continues from last weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s early snowstorm in the Northeast, insured losses already have exceeded $25 million, making this event a catastrophe.
PC360 reports that Verisk AnalyticsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Property Claims Service has declared the storm as a catastrophe with insured losses exceeding $25 million in six states: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Other areas are to be determined.
PC360 notes that claims from winter storms typically come in slowly since damage is normally seen after snow and ice melts, and after the lights come back on.
The East Coast blizzard has left thousands of passengers looking for a way to get home from the holidays. I was one of them.
My familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s return flight early Tuesday to Newark from New Orleans was cancelled. The earliest the airline could rebook us was nearly a week later.
Not wanting to wait out the delay, especially with an infant, in either the airport or a local hotel, we chose Ã¢â‚¬“ at our ownÃ‚ expense Ã¢â‚¬“ to rent a car and drive home.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a tally of the costs involved:
One-way rental car: $400
One night hotel: $100
Two extra days parking (for our own vehicle) at Newark airport: $40
Two extra nights boarding for our dog: $120
Refund from airline for half fare: -$200
Grand total: $735
As many displaced travelers are being reminded, airlines are not required to compensate you for hotel/transport/food costs in the event your flight is delayed due to bad weather.
Looking at the blizzard-related costs to our family has us reevaluating the need for travel insurance, especially when taking a trip during the winter months. But are such policies worth the extra cost?