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December storm could cost more than $5bn

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A person removes snow from the front of his driveway a few days after a winter storm rolled through western New York Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Insured losses from Winter Storm Elliott are estimated to be $5.4 billion across 42 US states, a leading catastrophe risk modelling organisation has said.

Karen Clark & Company said its winter storm event brief is based on the high-resolution KCC US Winter Storm Reference Model.

It added that this estimate includes the privately insured damage to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and automobiles.

On December 21, Elliott brought frigid arctic air southward into the US, plummeting the temperatures to under 20 degrees fahrenheit below average across most of the Eastern US, the cat modeller said.

Sub-freezing temperatures reached the Gulf Coast and lingered over the south east US where tens of thousands of homes and businesses were without power from high winds that had occurred on the warm side of the arctic cold front.

The frigid arctic air mass fuelled lake effect snowfall over the Great Lakes and historic blizzard conditions that lasted for more than 36 hours in Buffalo, New York.

On December 24, a potent extra tropical cyclone formed and brought high winds of more than 40 miles per hour to the Great Lakes region.

Of the impacts of the storm, Karen Clark & Company said: “Winter Storm Elliott caused significant damage across much of the country. The most impacted states are Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New York.

“The freezing temperatures account for the vast majority of the loss which can result in widespread infrastructure disruptions and burst pipes throughout the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Commercial losses are projected to account for over 50 per cent of the insured losses.

“Winter Storm Elliott had key differences from the 2021 Arctic Air Outbreak which lessened its potential impacts. Most significantly, the duration of the coldest temperatures in Texas were half as long (two days) relative to the 2021 event (four days).

“Elliott did however bring colder sub-freezing temperatures to the south east of the US, which were not severely impacted during the 2021 winter storm. It also spawned an extra tropical cyclone that explosively intensified over Southern Canada and produced blizzard conditions over a large swath of the north-central and north eastern United States.”

In addition to the damage it caused to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and automobiles, Winter Storm Elliott has resulted in dozens of deaths as well as stranding drivers and causing widespread disruption to travellers over the holiday season.

Industry veteran Karen Clark, the founder and CEO of the company that bears her name, was a panellist at the 2022 Bermuda Climate Summit in May, which was presented by the Bermuda Business Development Agency.

Climate Summit: the founder and chief executive of the catastrophe modellers Karen Clark and Co is pictured, far right, on a panel at the Bermuda Climate Summit in May. Also pictured are Mark Guishard, far left, and Peter Schlosser (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 30, 2022 at 7:46 am (Updated December 30, 2022 at 7:46 am)

December storm could cost more than $5bn

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