Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, has released its latest Global Catastrophe Recap report for the month of May. The report highlights the “powerful thunderstorms” that caused “major flooding across the U.S. states of Texas and Oklahoma during the month, killing 41 people and damaging more than 5,000 homes in Texas alone.” It was the “wettest May on record for both states.”

The severe weather prompted 412 preliminary reports of tornadoes by the U.S. Storm Prediction Center – which would equal the highest monthly number of U.S. tornadoes since April 2011 (758).

Total aggregated severe thunderstorm and flood economic losses for May were expected to be near $3.0 billion, “with overall insured losses set to easily exceed $1.0 billion despite low flood insurance penetration in parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

Steve Bowen, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said: “A meteorologically active month around the globe in May was highlighted by record rainfall from persistent thunderstorms across the U.S. states of Texas and Oklahoma. The rains, which were 500 percent greater than normal values for the month of May in some locations, led to major riverine and flash flooding in areas that had long been mired in a multi-year drought. In the immediate aftermath of the event, Impact Forecasting was able to successfully implement flood extents and scenarios into our U.S. flood model for deployment to clients.”

The report listed additional natural disaster events in May as follows:
• Significant flooding in China killed 81 people, damaged or destroyed nearly 100,000 homes, and resulted in total combined economic losses estimated to be greater than $3.0 billion.
• Flash floods In Australia caused widespread damage to property and agricultural interests. The Insurance Council of Australia reported that insurance payouts totaled A$360 million (US$280 million).
• An intense heatwave in India impacted multiple states and killed at least 2,500 people – one of the highest death tolls from a heatwave recorded in recent history.
• A major magnitude-7.3 earthquake near Mount Everest on May 12, which killed at least 131 people in Nepal, India, and China, bringing the death toll from the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes to nearly 9,000.
• Super Typhoon Noul, which swept across the Philippines, Yap, and Japan’s Okinawa, killing two people and causing Philippines losses of PHP16.3 million ($366,000), and Okinawa crop losses of JPY2.8 billion ($23.2 million).
• Tropical Storm Ana made landfall in the U.S. state of South Carolina with minimal impact.

Source: Aon Benfield/Impact Forecasting