The deadliest tornado season in decades is piling up miles of destruction and costing hundreds of lives and billions of dollars.
On Sunday, a monster tornado stretching nearly a mile wide killed at least 89 people in Joplin, Missouri.
It’s easy to see the physical destruction, but calculating the financial costs may take weeks, and measuring the devastating effects on people’s lives may be impossible.
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Michael Barry with the Insurance Information Institute calls these deadly twisters — life changing events.
“Folks living in Joplin, Missouri today are probably wondering if they want to continue or can continue to live in that community.”
This is the second deadliest tornado season in history – with about 450 deaths so far – and it’s on tract to be the most expensive on record.
The risk modeling agency, RMS, says the insured costs for just April may reach a staggering $6 billion, compared to $9.5 billion for all of last year, and that’s only a fraction of the overall economic impact.
The financial costs for individuals depend on their insurance. Still it’s a long recovery process of months or maybe years, says Barry.
“The insurance commissioner may want to compare notes with the Kansas insurance commissioner because Greensburg, Kansas a couple of years ago was literally wiped off the map due to a tornado; did not have the loss of life that we saw today in Joplin, Missouri but nonetheless Greensburg three to four years out was completely rebuilt. And so there is hope on what is otherwise a very dark day in Joplin.”
The tragedy that struck Joplin, Missouri is just the latest in a string of twisters. All this at a time when much of the Mississippi River valley is underwater, and the start of the hurricane season is only days away.
Bottom Line: Tornadoes are tearing up American lives and pocketbooks. The 2011 season is on tract to be the second deadliest in U.S. history and the most expensive on record.