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Severe convective storms caused billions in insured losses: Aon


A series of convective storms that hit the southern and eastern U.S. May 16-22, including a derecho that swept from central Texas along the Gulf Coast to Central Florida, will result in billions of dollars in insured losses, according to a report Friday from Aon PLC.

Probably the costliest system was the derecho, which caused significant straight-line wind damage and hit population centers along the Gulf Coast May 16-17. At least eight people died in  Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, Aon said in the report.

Extensive damage to transmission lines occurred, resulting in power outages for more than 1 million people at the height of the storm. Strong wind gusts and hail damaged numerous commercial and residential properties in Houston, blowing out about 2,500 skyscraper windows, the report said.

The derecho was accompanied by at least three EF1 (Enhanced Fujita Scale) intensity tornadoes, Aon said.

Another series of powerful thunderstorms cut a 430-mile swath through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri on May 19. A large tornado struck areas near Yukon, Oklahoma, with a tornado emergency declared in Custer.

Additional storms were recorded in the belt between Michigan and Colorado on May 20, and a prolific outbreak across Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri followed on May 21.

The latter included an EF4-rated tornado with estimated peak winds of up to 185 miles per hour that hit Greenfield, Iowa, destroying at least 100 buildings, with five fatalities confirmed by local officials.

The easternmost parts of the storm system above Nebraska caused notable flooding in Omaha. The event concluded with a significant tornado in Temple, Texas on May 22.

Widespread damage was caused by various hazards, including strong winds, tornadoes, large hail and heavy rain, Aon said.