Winter Storm Eleanor-Burglind
1/11/2018 8:00:00 AM
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First Posting 1/11/2018 8:00:00 AM 
Posting Date: 1/11/2018 8:00:00 AM

AIR Worldwide estimates that insured losses due to wind from Winter Storm Eleanor/Burglind will range between EUR 1.1 billion and EUR 1.6 billion, the majority of which are expected in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Lower levels of loss are also expected in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.

Note that these estimates reflect wind damage only to onshore residential, commercial, industrial properties; agricultural properties (and their contents); automobiles; and forestry in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

Sources of significant uncertainty:

  • Observation data for extratropical cyclones in Europe are from weather stations that record 3-second gust and sustained wind speeds. These measurements are strongly influenced by the very local environment of the station as well as by additional wind variability occurring within the storm. The variation in the final modeled wind footprints depends on the assumptions and methods pertaining to how 3-second wind gusts and their uncertainty are assimilated into the model and how these values are extrapolated to areas away from weather stations.

AIR’s modeled insured loss estimates include:

  • Insured physical damage from wind to property (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and auto), both structures and their contents
  • Losses to insured forestry in Finland, Norway, and Sweden

AIR’s modeled insured loss estimates do not include:

  • Losses due to coastal or inland flooding
  • Business interruption and additional living expenses (ALE) for residential claims for all modeled countries, except the UK (note that clients’ business interruption exposures can be modeled in Touchstone)
  • Losses to uninsured properties
  • Losses to infrastructure
  • Demand surge (AIR’s demand surge function is not triggered by this event)

Event Summary

Winter Storm Eleanor, known as Burglind in Germany, was the fifth named European winter storm of the season and fourth major storm to make landfall since December. It brought wind gusts of up to 100 mph (160 km/h) to Ireland early last week, causing damaging flooding along the Atlantic coast. The system then passed across the UK, where the Met Office reported wind gusts of 100 mph (160 km/h) in Cumbria in the north of England and 89 mph (143 km/h) on the Isle of Wight off the South Coast; the Environment Agency issued tens of flood warnings and more than 100 flood alerts, and massive waves of 26 feet (8 meters) were recorded in Devon. Eleanor/Burglind then made its way through Europe, bringing wind gusts of 91 mph (147 km/h) to Cambrai in northern France and 67 mph (108 km/h) to Paris—the strongest winds since storm Xynthia in 2010; gusts were recorded in Switzerland at 75 mph (120 km/h), 87 mph (140 km/h) in the Netherlands, and 98 mph (158 km/h) in Germany, and flooding was reported in impacted countries including Germany and France.

Reported Impacts

Structural damage due to strong winds was reported in Ireland, the UK, France, and Germany, where roofs were damaged or blown off, scaffolding was stripped from buildings, and signage was destroyed. Trees were blown down across continental Europe and the UK, and transportation disruption was rampant: a train car was blown off the tracks in Switzerland; train and ferry services were suspended in multiple countries; and hundreds of flights were canceled at Europe’s busiest airports, including Charles de Gaulle in France, Schiphol in Amsterdam, Frankfurt International in Germany, and Zurich and Basel in Switzerland. Power outages were widespread across the impacted countries, including 200,000 homes in France (30,000 of which were in Paris alone), 50,000 homes in Ireland, 21,000 homes in Northern Ireland, and 14,000 homes in Switzerland.

In addition to the widespread damage caused by wind, extensive flooding inundated streets and structures across Europe and in the UK, mainly in Ireland, where the River Shannon overflowed its banks in Limerick, and in England, where a seawall collapsed in Cornwall. The Thames Barrier was closed in London. In addition, in Germany, river levels in the Rhine area rose over the weekend, and overflow was observed in Bonn, Cologne, and Dusseldorf, and some street flooding was reported.

Winter Storm Eleanor-Burglind
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