NATIONAL – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Munich Re insurance company recently released their 2019 damage estimates for weather-related causes.
Accuweather damage estimates
AccuWeather previously released its 2019 total U.S. damage and economic loss estimate of $142 billion for the specific, major events but has added an additional $4 billion – for a total of $146 billion – to include all damages and losses from weather events that totaled less than $1 billion individually.
AccuWeather’s estimate includes damages and losses due to California wildfires ($80 billion), hurricanes ($22 billion), tornadoes and severe local storms ($19.5 billion), flooding ($12.5 billion), winter storms ($8 billion) and other events throughout the year ($4 billion) for a total of $146 billion.
That estimate includes, among other factors, damage to homes and businesses, as well as their contents and cars, job and wage losses, farm and crop losses, infrastructure damage and auxiliary business losses. It also includes the long-term impacts unique to the particular weather events such as the lingering health effects resulting from flooding and the disease caused by standing water as well as health impacts from poor air quality from forest fires
“Our decades of experience forecasting high-impact weather events and witnessing the damage left behind enable us to calculate damage and economic loss estimates that have proven to be the most accurate,” said AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers.
NOAA damage estimates
NOAA estimated there were 14 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the U.S. that totaled $45 billion. Flooding events combined to total almost half of the estimate (three for $20 billion), with tornadoes and severe local storms (eight for $13.9 billion), hurricanes and tropical storms (two for $6.6 billion) and California and Alaska wildfires ($4.5 billion) accounting for the rest.
According to NOAA, the total cost of U.S. billion-dollar disasters over the last five years (2015–2019) exceeds $525 billion, with a five-year, inflation-adjusted annual cost average of $106.3 billion, both of which are NOAA records.
Munich Re Insurance damage estimates
Munich Re, which offers reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions, estimated losses of $150 billion worldwide in 2019 as a result of natural catastrophes, of which approximately $52 billion was insured. Losses from weather events impacting the U.S. included among their estimates were severe storms and flooding in May ($4.7 billion) and October ($2.6 billion) and overall losses during the 2019 hurricane season of $3 billion. Also, California wildfire losses were estimated at $1.1 billion.