California-based Risk Management Solutions, Inc. (RMS), announced that the windstorm, designated Jeanett, which has hit the U.K., France, and the rest of northern Europe over the last several days may cause up to 1 billion Euros ($983 million) in damages.
The storm, packing hurricane force winds in excess of 100 mph first struck on Sunday night (See IJ Website Oct. 28), causing the deaths of seven people in England and Wales and four in Northern France. It then moved on to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, where 11 people were reported to have lost their lives in storm related accidents.
RMS preliminary estimates of insured losses was that they “will be unlikely to exceed Euro 0.3 billion ($295 million).” In addition to direct damages caused by the storm, Jeanett severely affected power lines and transport networks, leaving many regions still without electric power.
In an unusual set of circumstances, France’s high-speed TGV rail network was brought to a virtual standstill in the northern part of the country, including the Eurostar service from Paris to London. A massive power failure occurred when wind driven seawater dried on electrical resistors that transmit power to the rail lines. The dried salt knocked out the power. According to officials at the SNCF each set of resistors has to be cleaned separately by high-pressure hoses. There are approximately 185 of them for each kilometer (0.6 miles) of track, and the job is still going on today.
RMS also noted that “Transport was severely disrupted in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany, as flights from many airports were cancelled, railway services from London were closed and other services ran on emergency timetables.” It noted that “in Germany, wind damage to buildings, particularly older properties, and flooding from the accompanying heavy rain resulted in more than 80,000 insurance claims being registered within 48 hours of the storm.”
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