With Economic Damages of $9B, Hurricanes Eta and Iota Topped Off Record Year: Aon

December 14, 2020

Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November topped off the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season when a record of 12 named storms made landfall in the United States. The two final hurricanes of the season had an economic cost of approximately $9 billion, according to Aon’s monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report.

Hurricane Eta made landfall and caused extensive damage in Nicaragua, before moving to Honduras and Guatemala, and subsequently making landfall in south central Cuba as a tropical storm. Total economic losses in Central America were estimated at nearly $7 billion, most of which were uninsured, said the report.

Eta later made two landfalls in Florida as a tropical storm, bringing heavy rainfall and flash flooding, storm surge, and tropical storm-force wind gusts across the state. The first occurred in the middle Florida Keys on Nov. 8, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), and the second on Nov. 12, along the west-central Florida coast, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). Total U.S. economic losses were tentatively estimated at $1.1 billion, with public and private insurers covering approximately half of the loss, the report added.

Hurricane Iota became the first Category 5 hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic Season on Nov. 16, making landfall in Nicaragua on the same day. The storm produced dangerous coastal and inland flooding as well as high wind across Central America, with extensive impacts experienced in Nicaragua and Honduras. Total economic losses were expected to reach $1.25 billion, most of which will be uninsured.

In Asia, Super Typhoon Goni became the strongest storm at landfall in recorded history. At its peak, Goni attained one-minute average sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph), before making landfall near Bato town in Catanduanes Province of the Philippines on Nov. 1. At least 31 people were killed and nearly 400 others were injured. Approximately 250,000 homes and thousands of other structures were damaged or destroyed, and a vast area of agricultural land was also affected. Economic losses to agriculture and infrastructure alone were estimated at PHP20 billion ($415 million), amid an overall economic toll expected to approach $1 billion.

“While not historically one of the most active months for tropical cyclones, November 2020 set multiple records. Most notable was the landfall of Typhoon Goni in the Philippines, which unofficially came ashore as the strongest landfalling global storm on record,” said Michal Lörinc, catastrophe analyst for Aon’s Impact Forecasting team, in a statement.

“Hurricanes Eta and Iota became two of the fastest-intensifying storms in the Atlantic, and Iota was the latest-forming Category 5 storm on record for the basin. While 2020 storms have not set any new financial loss milestones, the scientific records serve as a reminder of the risks posed to both developed and emerging markets,” he continued.

Other notable natural hazard events and statistics from the report include:

  • Four notable severe weather outbreaks hit the United States during the month of November with straight-line winds, tornadoes and large hail. Compound economic losses were estimated to exceed $1 billion, with the most notable effects in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.
  • Extremely intense rainfall hit the Valencian Community region in eastern Spain on November 5-6, causing notable flooding. The most affected areas were Ribera Alta and Ribera Baixa. The Spanish Insurance Consortium expected approximately 12,000 property claims and losses of €82 million ($99 million). Overall economic losses, including agriculture and infrastructure sectors, were even higher.
  • Tropical Cyclone Gati came ashore near the Puntland’s Cape Hafun in Somalia on Nov 22, with an estimated maximum wind speed of 165 kph (105 mph) – the strongest storm on record to strike the arid nation of Somalia. Gati produced heavy rainfall, hurricane-force winds and destructive storm surge in northern parts of the country, causing at least eight casualties. Rainfall on Nov. 23 in Bosaso, Somalia was reported at 128 millimeters (5.04 inches), or more than twice the annual average. Thousands of homes and other structures were damaged. The economic toll was estimated in the millions of dollars.
  • Typhoon Vamco crossed the Philippines on Nov. 11-12, before striking Vietnam on Nov. 15. At least 200,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed and at least 99 people were killed. Total economic losses were estimated to top PHP50 billion ($1 billion) in the Philippines alone, including roughly PHP20 billion ($415 million) to agriculture and infrastructure.

Source: Aon’s Impact Forecasting

Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Hurricane Aon

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