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AIR: Losses From U.S. Winter Storm From $150m to $350m

The storm combined heavy snowfall, flooding rain and high winds, some of which reached hurricane-strength, according to an AIR source.

Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide (Boston, a subsidiary of Jersey City, N.J.-based ISO) estimates that insured losses from the winter storm that impacted the East Coast of United States between February 23 and 28 will be between USD 150 million and USD 350 million. Total insured losses from two prior storms, which occurred between February 4 and February 7 and February 9 and February 11, respectively, are estimated by AIR at between USD 400 million and USD 1 billion. The estimates cover insured physical damage to property; additional living expenses for residential claims and business interruption losses.

"The third winter storm to slam the Northeast coast last month reached its height on Friday, February 26, impacting nine states in the mid-Atlantic and New England through Saturday," says Dr. Peter Dailey, director of atmospheric science, AIR Worldwide. "The storm, a powerful low pressure system, originated off the mid-Atlantic coast, intensifying as it came ashore. It moved slowly into New York Friday morning and gradually dissipated over New England over the weekend before moving out to sea."

The storm combined heavy snowfall, flooding rain and what AIR describes as impressive winds, some of which reached hurricane-strength, according to an AIR news release. In Manhattan, where nearly 21 inches of snow were recorded in a 36-hour period, the storm set an all-time record for snow in the month of February, the source says. The storm also set a record there for accumulation in a single day. Elsewhere, snowfall totaled more than two feet over parts of eastern New York State and western Massachusetts. West Halifax, Vermont, received 38.5 inches of snow, AIR reports.

The persistence of the jet stream in generally the same location has influenced the appearance of repeated storms, the AIR source notes. The quick succession of cold-weather storms minimizes the opportunity for snow to melt, increasing the probability of roof damage, according to AIR. High winds increase the chance of roof and other structural damage, according to AIR.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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