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ICT: 2019 Dallas tornadoes the costliest tornado event in Texas history, USA


A tornado outbreak that hit Dallas on October 20, 2019, is now the costliest tornado event in the history of Texas and the 11th weather disaster in the USA in 2019 whose damage topped 1 billion dollars.

The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) has estimated about $2 billion in insured losses following 9 tornadoes that ripped through North Texas on Sunday, October 20.

Preliminary projected estimates include over 30 000 auto and home claims. Commercial and business claims projections are still coming in at this time and the financial impact may likely rise.

"This makes the October 20th Dallas tornado outbreak the costliest tornado event in Texas history," ICT said.

In contrast, the Garland/Rowlett tornado of December 26, 2015, resulted in insured losses of $1.2 billion dollars.

"Sunday’s tornadoes, however, extended over a wider geographic span impacting a variety of homes and commercial property. The multiple tornadoes uprooted decades-old trees, brought down power lines, made many roads impassable and immeasurably changed the landscape of some neighborhoods."

Thankfully, despite the large scale property damage, there were no fatalities. 

An EF-3 tornado was the first [and strongest] in the series of twisters which swept across a path almost 26 km (16 miles) in just over 30 minutes through the northern area of Dallas county. According to the National Weather Service, it had maximum winds of 225 km/h (140 mph).

Furthermore, Garcia called $2 billion a "pretty conservative estimate" since the twisters did not just cause destruction to residential properties in North Dallas, but also to commercial establishments.

However, insurance industry meteorologist Bryan Wood does not agree with the figures. "Given that the majority of the damage in the tornado is EF-0 or EF-1, I believe that a $2 billion damage estimate is too high," he tweeted.

Wood added, "For comparison, the Joplin tornado, which had a much larger proportion of damage at EF3-plus, was $2.8 billion."

"From what I’ve seen, a lot of varying degrees of roof damage is the biggest damage mode. It does add up – but probably closer to $1 billion than $2 billion."

On the other hand, weather.com said "Whether that total adds up to $1 or $2 billion, it still seems likely this is the 11th billion-dollar weather disaster of the year."

Featured image credit: ESA/Sentinel-2, Annamaria Luongo


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