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Property worth more than $6 billion was within the track of the massive tornado that ravaged areas around Oklahoma City Monday, AIR Worldwide Corp. estimates.
The Boston-based catastrophe modeling firm said Wednesday that the replacement value of properties within a 0.4 mile buffer zone of the tornado's track is $2.2 billion and the replacement value of properties within a 1 mile buffer zone is $6.4 billion.
AIR Worldwide has not yet estimated insured losses from the tornado, which was upgraded to an EF5 rating.
As of Wednesday, 24 people were confirmed dead, including nine children, and more than 200 were injured as a result of the 2-mile-wide tornado that razed areas near Oklahoma City.
The city of Moore suffered much of the devastation, where many homes, businesses, two schools and a hospital were destroyed.
The National Weather Service said it estimated winds reached more than 200 mph.
“According to reports and aerial images, property damage in the affected region is extensive, with whole neighborhoods heavily damaged or destroyed,” AIR Worldwide said in a statement.
Large losses from Monday's storm are expected, but they are expected to have a minimal effect on U.S. insurance markets, industry experts said.
Powerful tornadoes hit Moore previously in 2003 and 1999.
While basements and underground shelters are the safest refuge from tornados, many homes in Oklahoma are built on concrete slabs and lack basements because the soil in the region renders such construction too costly, AIR Worldwide said.
“An official estimate of the number of destroyed homes has not yet been released; however, the 1999 EF5 tornado that followed a similar path to Monday's EF5 Moore tornado destroyed more than 8,000 homes,” Tim Doggett, senior principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, said in the statement.
The insurance industry needs to better model for the risks presented by tornadoes to insured properties in the United States, Lloyd's of London said in a report Wednesday.