Winter Storm Friederike
1/25/2018 9:00:00 AM
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First Posting 1/25/2018 9:00:00 AM 
Posting Date: 1/25/2018 9:00:00 AM

AIR Worldwide estimates that insured losses due to wind from Winter Storm Friederike will range between EUR 1.3 billion and EUR 2.6 billion, the majority of which are expected in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, 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, and industrial properties; automobiles; agricultural properties; greenhouses in the Netherlands and Denmark; 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), including structures, contents, and direct business interruption
  • Insured physical damage from wind to greenhouses in the Netherlands and Denmark
  • 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 Recap

At least 12 people were killed, mostly by fallen trees in Germany, as Friederike’s extreme winds tore across Western Europe on January 17 to 19, also damaging buildings in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. There were reported instances of Friederike’s winds blowing roofs off buildings. Among the fatalities were two firefighters involved in the storm’s emergency operations in Germany.

The UK was first hit by gusts of up to 130 km/h (80 mph) during the overnight hours of January 17 to 18. In Germany, wind speeds reached 203 km/h in mountainous regions and up to 138 km/h in low-lying areas. The storm left as many as 140,000 homes without power and caused travel chaos as it brought down trees onto rail lines and roads, forced bridges to close, and disrupted flights and train and ferry services. The country’s national train operator, Deutsche Bahn, also canceled all long-distance traffic for most of the day on January 18. In short, travel by car, train, and plane was at a standstill in many parts of Germany for much of January 18. A similar transportation situation was observed in Belgium and the Netherlands.

German meteorological services Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) stated that Winter Storm Friederike was one of the strongest since Kyrill struck 11 years ago to the day. Kyrill, however, was considerably larger. (To learn more about that storm, please read “Kyrill, the Winter Storm that Walloped Most of Europe.”)


Winter Storm Friederike
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