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:

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