Insured Losses From April Tornados Between $3.7B and $5.5B: AIR

The April thunderstorm outbreak in the central U.S. created insured losses between $3.7 billion and $5.5 billion, according to statement issued Monday by AIR Worldwide.

The estimate includes insured losses to residential, commercial and industrial properties from the severe thunderstorm outbreak that struck the U.S. from April 22 through April 28, 2011

Alabama — which boar the brunt of the damage — had 38 of its 67 counties declared as disaster areas and initial reports indicate losses could reach the level of 2004‘s Hurricane Ivan (2004). For example, the report citied a “long duration EF-4 tornado” with a track length of 80 miles struck Tuscaloosa and destroyed over 5,000 properties.

AIR added that the system that created the tornado was unusually active.

“These two—the Smithfield tornado in Mississippi and the Hackleburg tornado in Alabama—both occurred on April 27, marking the first time in more than 20 years that two EF-5s occurred on the same day,” said Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide . “A total of 12 EF-4 tornadoes (with gusts of 166–200 mph) have been confirmed, and many of these—including the exceptionally damaging Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado that remained on the ground for 90 minutes—had path lengths exceeding 70 miles.”

Commercial properties were particularly hard hit, AIR said, adding that commercial structures on the “periphery” of the tornado were severely damaged by airborne debris and “missile impacts.”

“Many properties closer to the periphery of the tornado sustained significant damage to their roofs and openings (large plate glass windows and doors),” Doggett said in the statement “With the building envelope breached, many sustained subsequent structural damage.”   

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