Oklahoma tornado losses could top $2 billion

It's still early for realistic estimates, but it's clear that Monday's deadly storm will be among the most expensive since Joplin's in 2011.

By Jonathan Berr May 22, 2013 7:39AM
A man & his children walk through debris after a huge tornado struck Moore, Okla., on Monday (© Richard Rowe/Reuters)The devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma that left at least 24 people dead and more than 200 injured probably caused insurance losses totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars at a minimum, according to Insurance & Technology, a trade publication.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak told Reuters that losses from Monday's storm likely will exceed the more than $2 billion in damage caused by the 2011 Joplin, Mo., twister that left 161 dead. More precise figures may not be known for several weeks as insurance companies survey the damage from the storm, which ripped through the Sooner State on Monday, packing winds topping 200 mph.

As The Associated Press noted, the twister delivered a punch that was likely many times more powerful than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

The disaster was the deadliest storm of its kind since 2011 tornado that ravaged Joplin and the surrounding area. That storm and others pounded 20 states between May 20 and May 27, causing an estimated $6.9 billion in damage. Also in 2011, tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Ala., cost $7.5 billion in insured losses.

"Insured losses from tornadoes/thunderstorms were over $25 billion in 2011, more than double the previous record," according to the Insurance Information Institute, making them the costliest type of natural disaster that year. They caused $97.8 billion in insured losses between 1990 and 2009.
Scientists aren't sure whether global warming will cause more or fewer twisters, according to The Associated Press. Until Monday, the 2013 tornado season had started off quietly.

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

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May 22, 2013 11:42AM
The republicans in the house are pushing for a bill that doesn't allow the federal government to declare the state of Oklahoma a disaster area making them unable to receive emergency federal aide.  the republicans want this money that is normally used to aide disaster victims given to the upper 2% in the form of tax relief which in turn would allow the 2% to create new jobs.   Republicans feel that the states that  know that these disasters are going to happen time and time again and it is their responsibility to budget for these disaster in those states.  Republicans feel this is a win, win for the citizens.
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