Roundup of October’s major natural disasters around the world

Published: Monday, 16 November 2020 08:30

Aon plc has published the latest edition of its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during October 2020.

The report highlights Hurricane Delta, which made landfall in the United States on October 9th along the southern coast as a Category 2 hurricane, bringing significant storm surge, incessant rainfall and hurricane-force wind gusts to eastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. Total economic losses were anticipated to approach $4 billion, with roughly half covered by public and private insurers.

Another hurricane, Zeta, rapidly intensified in the Gulf of Mexico to also make landfall on the southeastern Louisiana coast on October 28th as a high-end Category 2 storm, killing six people and becoming the record 11th-named storm to impact the mainland US during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Total economic and insured losses were each anticipated to exceed $1 billion.

Major wildfires continued to sweep across regions of the US in October, with the greatest impacts observed in California, Colorado and Oregon. In California, the Glass Fire destroyed 1,555 structures while damaging an additional 280. Seasonal direct economic costs from the fires across California, Colorado and Oregon were estimated to exceed $13 billion, while insurers faced payouts beyond $8 billion, with both estimates subject to change.

Statewide in California, at least 4.1 million acres (1.66 million hectares) have burned in 2020, resulting in 31 fatalities, and destroying at least 10,488 structures. In Colorado, three of the top four largest fires on the state’s modern record have occurred since July 31st.

Meanwhile, in Europe, devastating floods occurred in the Alpes-Maritimes region of southeastern France and Piemonte in northwestern Italy after the passage of storm Alex, killing at least 16 people, and triggered by extremely intense precipitation during a phenomenon known as a Mediterranean episode. Authorities initially estimated total economic losses at approximately EUR2.7 billion ($3.2 billion), with insurers expecting notable payouts in the hundreds of millions EUR.

Further natural hazard events to have occurred globally in October include:

Read the full report (PDF).