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US winter storm "Elliott"

January 03, 2023

US winter storm "Elliott"

Catastrophe loss modelling firm Karen Clark has published a report estimating that the amount of insured losses caused by winter storm "Elliott" will be some US$5.4bn. By comparison, 2021's winter storm "Uri" has an estimate of insured losses of US$15bn associated with the event that mainly affected the 2020 Year of Account.

The period of severe weather dubbed "Elliott" in late December 2022 featured an extratropical cyclone - which was termed a "cyclone bomb" because the drop in atmospheric pressure was faster than 1 millibar per hour (Elliott's was 24mb over 24 hours) which brought 40mph winds and heavy snowfall over the Great Lakes area, particularly severe blizzards over Buffalo City, in the east of New York state, which received some 43 inches of snow. New York City is recorded as having experienced its second coldest Christmas Eve in 150 years.

This period of prolonged winter weather also saw a front of very cold weather move out of the arctic as far south as the Gulf states like Texas. Thankfully, its duration was half as long as "Uri" at 2 days which in the main accounts for the lower estimate of insured loss.

Karen Clark's bulletin states "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% of the insured losses."

More information will undoubtedly be published on this which we will accumulate in our next quarterly estimates bulletin. Guy Carpenter has produced a post event report available here