The Weather Network is broadcasting their 2017 summer forecast for the United States. Yep, the whole country for the next 3 months…because local forecasts a week in advance are so great, this must be really good stuff! Sarcasm aside… at least they are not being too precise, but rather giving generalized information relative to “normal”.
Time really does fly – incredibly it has been a year since the epic flooding in South Carolina after Tropical Storm Joaquin inundated the state. To mark the anniversary the trio of Zurich, ISET and Aon has published a white paper on the event. It is a thorough and insightful summary of both the event and the aftermath and is worth reading.
It is even more worth summarizing three key points in a blog.
1. The Protection Gap
The South Carolina floods were a stark illustration of the protection gap in US flood coverage. The figures are quoted in Zurich CEO Mike Foley’s introduction to the report:
"The floods caused an estimated USD 12 billion in total losses with approximately USD 2 billion in insured and other funded losses. As we approach the one year anniversary of the floods, some residents are still trying to rebuild, and the sad reality is South Carolina could experience this type of extreme event again".
This is massive. A flood is considered noteworthy when it causes $1 billion in losses – this event caused $10 billion in uninsured losses. The true gap, though, is illustrated by the second sentence – a year later many families impacted are still trying to get their lives back on track. The flood protection gap is a rare opportunity to grow revenue/profits in a way that can really improve people’s lives.
Earlier this month the New York Times published an op-ed piece discussing the new FIRMs in New Orleans. Now, if ever there were going to be contentious flood maps published by FEMA, these would be them. It is nigh impossible to discuss flood mitigation or flood risk in that city objectively after Katrina.
The author, Andy Horowitz (an assistant professor of history at Tulane), states his intent early: “I was briefly elated — and then, horrified — when, earlier this year, the federal government declared most of New Orleans safe from flooding.” At length, here is the cause for his concern:
In August, we took a look at how this winter’s El Niño was shaping up. While most predictions pointed to an El Niño comparable with 1997 (the worst on record), some were predicting that a “Godzilla El Niño” was on its way. Now that we’re in the midst of it, let’s take a look at how El Niño has shaped up.
Last week I compared hurricane history with the current (at the time) forecast. There were a few storms of potential interest, including Erika and Ignacio. Well, here’s what really happened: