Tornado Foes on the Increase in the U.S.

06/07/19

Does insurance cover damages by tornadoes – the so-called acts of nature?

As of May 30, 2019, the U.S. has been rocked by some 500 tornadoes in a 30-day period, according to preliminary data, with a trapped jet stream in the atmosphere “stuck in neutral,” said the U.S. Storm Prediction Center.

What is a tornado?

A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris. Tornadoes are the most violent of all atmospheric storms.

Where do tornadoes occur?

Tornadoes occur in many parts of the world, including USA, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. Even New Zealand reports about 20 tornadoes each year. Two of the highest concentrations of tornadoes outside the U.S. are Argentina and Bangladesh.

How many tornadoes occur in the U.S. each year?

About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. yearly. Since official tornado records only date back to 1950, we do not know the actual average number of tornadoes that occur each year. Plus, tornado spotting and reporting methods have changed a lot over the last several decades.

Where is tornado alley?

Tornado Alley is a nickname invented by the media for a broad area of relatively high tornado occurrence in the central U.S. Various Tornado Alley maps look different because tornado occurrence can be measured many ways: by all tornadoes, tornado county-segments, strong and violent tornadoes only, and databases with different time periods. Violent or killer tornadoes do happen outside “Tornado Alley” every year.

When are tornadoes most likely?

Tornado season usually refers to the time of year the U.S. sees the most tornadoes. The peak “tornado season” for the Southern Plains is during May into early June. On the Gulf coast, it is earlier during the spring. In the northern plains and upper Midwest, tornado season is in June or July. But, remember, tornadoes can happen at any time of year. Tornadoes can also happen at any time of day or night, but most tornadoes occur between 4–9 p.m.

What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning?

Tornado Watch is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center meteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 across the entire U.S. for weather conditions that are favorable for tornadoes. A watch can cover parts of a state or several states.

Tornado Warning is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 over a designated area. This means a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar and there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the tornado. If you hear a Tornado Warning, act immediately and find safe shelter!

Watch this YouTube video for a great explanation!

How do tornadoes form?

No alt text provided for this image

Tornado formation is believed to be dictated mainly by things which happen on the storm scale, in and around the mesocyclone.

The truth is that we don’t fully understand. The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells, which are rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation called a mesocyclone. (Supercells can also produce damaging hail, severe non-tornadic winds, unusually frequent lightning, and flash floods.) Tornado formation is believed to be dictated mainly by things which happen on the storm scale, in and around the mesocyclone. Recent theories and results from the VORTEX2 program suggest that once a mesocyclone is underway, tornado development is related to the temperature differences across the edge of downdraft air wrapping around the mesocyclone. Mathematical modeling studies of tornado formation also indicate that it can happen without such temperature patterns; and in fact, very little temperature variation was observed near some of the most destructive tornadoes in history on 3 May 1999. We still have lots of work to do.

An excellent comprehensive list of questions and answers about tornadoes can be found here: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/

Are Tornadoes Covered by Flood Insurance?

Unlike floods or hurricanes, tornadoes are generally covered under homeowner’s insurance policies and do not require a separate endorsement or “rider.” To obtain coverage for tornado damage to your vehicle, you will need to have a comprehensive car or truck insurance policy in place.

While tornadoes can be accompanied by heavy rain, it’s important to understand that homeowners insurance policies generally do not provide coverage for flood damage. So, even if your policy offers protection against wind, damage caused by flooding likely would not be covered. You may be able to purchase a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

CMR & Associates will provide you with a no-cost service by reviewing your current Property/Casualty insurance coverage to make sure that your coverage is adequate and affordable. If you currently do not have insurance, we can assist you in finding the appropriate coverage at an affordable rate. Please email CMR Associates or call 877-447-4301 or 212-447-4300 for more information.

No alt text provided for this image

About CMR: CMR & Associates provides independent insurance advice by reviewing your current Property/Casualty insurance or commercial insurance to improve coverage and reduce cost. Through our proprietary database – The CMR Database® (comprised of some 13000 brokers nationwide) – we maximize access to the commercial insurance industry for greater options that will translate to better coverage and lower cost. Since 1999, we have saved clients over $120 million.

Source: https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/tornadoes/