January 23rd, 2017

U.S. SCS Outbreak January 20—22, 2017

Posted at 3:13 PM ET

us-local-storm-outbreak-jan-20-22-2017-local-report-sm1A significant severe weather outbreak has affected areas from East Texas to the Florida Peninsula to South Carolina. These severe thunderstorms were enabled in an especially favorable environment to produce reports of tornadoes, hail and nontornadic wind gusts. One significant tornado has been confirmed by the National Weather Service to affect areas of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Probable significant tornadoes have also been reported in South Georgia. Significant property damage has been reported for areas affected by these tornadoes. Media reports also indicate downed trees and powerlines with light property damage in areas affected by other weaker tornadoes and nontornadic wind gusts. At least 19 fatalities have been reported by the media, and our first thoughts and concerns are with those directly affected by this event.

Meteorological Discussion

Severe thunderstorms affected areas from East Texas to the Florida Peninsula to South Carolina from January 20 to 22. The thunderstorms produced reports of hail, nontornadic wind gusts and tornadoes according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center (SPC), including probable long-track, significant tornadoes. Damage survey efforts are still underway, but the National Weather Service (NWS) in Jackson, Mississippi has already confirmed that a significant EF-3 tornado affected areas of Hattiesburg early Saturday with significant property damage reported. Probable strong to violent tornadoes have also affected areas of South Georgia where damage surveys are scheduled today.


U.S. Local Storm Reports January 20-22, 2017 (U.S. Storm Prediction Center - NOAA)


Hattiesburg Tornado Footprint; U.S. National Weather Service (Jackson)

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from GC AdvantagePoint®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. GC AdvantagePoint users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or cat modeling analyst for further information.


Significant impacts have been reported in areas of Mississippi and Georgia, with the most severe impacts reported with a confirmed EF-3 tornado in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Damage survey efforts continue by National Weather Service personnel to confirm and rate probable tornadoes. At least 19 fatalities have been reported by the media.


Media reports indicate at least 15 fatalities in Georgia.  The majority of fatalities occurred in southern Cook County, where local authorities report seven people dead after a tornado destroyed half of 40 homes at a mobile home park. Collapsed buildings, destroyed rooftops and downed trees were also reported in the area.  A local church sheltered more than 50 people affected by the storms.

Four deaths were also reported in Dougherty County, as well two deaths each in both Berrien and Brooks counties, according to media reports. Significant damage was reported in the Albany area.

A Wal-Mart was heavily damaged in the town of Warner Robins, according to local emergency management officials.  Roof damage due to strong winds was reported in Howard, and several buildings experienced major damage in Washington County.

More than 17,000 customers were without power across the state Sunday night, according to media reports.

The state was affected by numerous tornado reports over the weekend according to the SPC. Media reports indicate that 16 counties are under a state of emergency.

Flooding remains a concern for some areas and the NWS maintains warnings for areas under threat.


The town of Hattiesburg experienced extensive damage due to a confirmed EF-3 tornado that affected the area early Saturday. Four fatalities have been confirmed according to media reports with more than 50 injuries. At least 480 homes were damaged. Media reports indicate possible insured damages of around USD 200 million for Hattiesburg alone, according to Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.  Damage to dorms and several injuries were reported at William Carey University, campus activities were cancelled until further notice, according to media reports.

Power outages also impacted several thousand customers, according to media reports.

The NWS reports that flooding is possible along the Chickasawhay and Leaf rivers in the southeast part of the state.  The Chickasawhay River is expected to crest on Wednesday afternoon.

South Carolina

According to the NWS, one tornado occurred in Barnwell County on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. and moved into Bamberg County.  The other struck Orange County only a few minutes later.  One woman was injured in her mobile home near the town of Blackville. Hundreds of trees were blown down and several homes and barns were damaged across the state, according to media reports.


Media reports indicate structural damage in the Pepperell Village area in Opelika. A possible tornado tore a roof from a mobile home in Lee County on Sunday. Significant tree and power line damage from a possible tornado occurred in Choctaw County near Toxey. According to Alabama Power, 4,600 homes and businesses were without power as of Monday morning, down from a height of 29,000.


There were numerous SPC reports of damaging winds with some hail across the Panhandle and peninsula. A person was injured after a tree fell and split a home near Lake City, according to media reports. Panama City received several reports of downed trees and power lines. Mobile homes sustained damage near the towns of Lakeland and Bradenton.  A high school in Palm Beach County was closed on Monday due to damage possibly caused by a tornado, according to media reports.


Media reports indicate two dozen homes damaged near Plain Dealing, Louisiana, according to local law enforcement. In Natchitoches Parish, local law enforcement also reported damage to 10 to 15 homes in the area.


At least eight homes were damaged in Scottsville, Texas, late Saturday afternoon, according to media reports.  Downed trees and power lines were reported in the area. Wet roads on Saturday also contributed to a car accident that killed two people in Harris County.

Sources: Agence France Presse, Reuters, Associated Press, U.S. National Weather Service, U.S. Storm Prediction Center, U.S. Weather Prediction Center, The Weather Channel.

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Guy Carpenter publishes CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Guy Carpenter compiles RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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