A look back at some of the most impactful weather events of 2023
IRVINE, Calif., December 18, 2023 — CoreLogic®, a leader in global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions, compiled a review of some of the most impactful storms, wildfires and other natural disasters of 2023. Natural catastrophes like severe hail across the central and southeastern U.S., Hurricanes Idalia and Hilary battering the Florida Gulf and California Coasts and devastating wildfires on Maui created widespread destruction and loss.
Severe convective storms, or severe thunderstorms, including straight-line winds, hail and tornadoes, dominated the 2023 loss-year. However, hail was the most damaging peril. From mid-March through November, three-quarter inch or greater hail fell on more than 23 million homes across the contiguous U.S. Severe hail (greater than two inches) fell on over 850,000 homes.
More than 50% of the homes impacted by hail were in Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma and Missouri. Texas led all states with almost 2.8 million homes subjected to 1-inch or greater hail. Six million homes experienced a hailstorm in both April and June, making them the months with the most hail damage.
With an estimated $8 billion in damages in June alone, severe convective storms were the costliest category of weather events in 2023, with hail being the primary loss driver. More in-depth explanation about these storm events will be available in CoreLogic’s 2023 Severe Convective Storm Report, which will be available in February 2024.
“The combination of a record active season and inflationary pressures on reconstruction materials and labor with both an increase and shift in the geographical concentration of homes/businesses, created a situation where year-end losses from severe convective storms rival that of a single major hurricane,” said Jon Schneyer, Catastrophe Response Director, CoreLogic. “Roof age and materials play a huge role in whether a roof will sustain damage during a hailstorm. Understanding this and taking proactive measures to ensure quality materials are used is the best way property owners can seek to mitigate damage.”
The Atlantic Ocean Basin was highly active in 2023 and saw 20 named storms (fourth highest since 1950), seven of which were hurricanes—and three of them major. Yet, Hurricane Idalia was the only landfalling hurricane in the U.S. this year. The storm made landfall in a remote section of the Florida coastline, reducing the potential insured-loss total to under $2 billion.
Devastating wildfires raged through the town of Lahaina on Maui, Hawaii in August. In addition to extensive damage to thousands of homes, the fires forced thousands of evacuations; disrupted communication systems and transportation networks, including cell service, road closures and flights; and burdened firefighting efforts.
“What occurred in Lahaina was a tragedy, one of if not the deadliest wildfires on record. Once the strong winds pushed flames or embers into the buildings of Lahaina, they became the primary fuel source,” said Schneyer. “Wood siding and porches with lattices underneath were common construction practices, which are very vulnerable to embers and flames. The only positive aspect was that we saw an example of effective wildfire mitigation practices, like replacing asphalt shingles with a metal roof and clearing vegetation from within five feet of the property.”
Each event has been a stark reminder of the need for preparatory efforts to mitigate the damage of natural disasters. In addition to physically preparing for these disasters, the industry can leverage data and insights to help better predict the outcome of these events, as they increase in frequency and severity.
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