Severe weather closed out 2021 with unusually high tornadic activity in December. More than 60 tornadoes tore across eight states in the central and southern U.S. that month alone.1 1.1In Mayfield, Kentucky, one twister flattened brick buildings to the ground and killed more than 80 residents before moving on to the next town in a historic, unprecedented CAT disaster.
Although tornadoes can happen any time throughout the year, they are more common in February – March in the South and April – June across the Plains. If recent activity is an indicator, the 2022 tornado season promises to be anything but normal. Places like New Orleans, Louisiana and Des Moines, Iowa have already felt the impacts of these destructive storms and the activity seems to only be increasing as we get further into spring.
Additionally, AccuWeather predicts the worst tornados may hit outside of what’s traditionally known as Tornado Alley. This may even mean that Tornado Alley is shifting eastward altogether putting Alabama at the center of activity.2
Unlike hurricanes, which are often predicted days or even a week in advance, a tornado develops faster often without warning, so damages can be more severe. No one can prevent tornadoes, but you can take steps to put your building in the best position to weather the storm. With only minutes to respond, you can’t afford to be unprepared.
Between 2010 and 2020, tornadoes caused roughly $2.5 million in damages per storm – or more than $14 billion in total damage across the U.S.3 Yet building owners and operators who take steps to protect their facilities ahead of a storm may be able to reduce restoration costs should their building sustain damage.
Consider these tips:
Insurers should anticipate a more active tornado season this year and be aware of exposures in the South and East that may typically have a lower tornado risk. AccuWeather’s forecast is calling for a potentially “intense” April with 200-275 tornadoes. With the ongoing supply chain and labor challenges in 2022, any delay in estimating damages could delay the project overall which is why it’s important to have regional building consultants on call before a loss occurs.
Today, so much is regionalized. When it comes to a CAT situation, it’s tricky to manage resources effectively. Know who to call to assess a building’s damage if a tornado strikes. When an area is at risk, while assessing the policies in force, concurrently matching regionally available vendor resources will put you ahead of the game.
1National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “The December 2021 tornado outbreak, explained,” December 20, 2021.
2AccuWeather “2022 predicted to spawn more tornados than recent years,” March 9, 2022.
3ValuePenguin.com, “Tornadoes Caused $2.5 Million in Damage Per Storm Across U.S. in Past Decade,” updated March 29, 2021.