Canadian Underwriter

Will this week’s weather events result in Cat damages?

July 25, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

Stormy sky with a wall of clouds

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While Europe is experiencing record-breaking heat waves, western Canada had some severe heat and storms of its own between July 16-20. And although they were expected to have caused millions in damage, it won’t breach catastrophe territory, according to Aon’s Weekly Cat report.  

Rounds of severe convective storms (SCS), surface low-pressure systems and widespread heat have impacted parts of the Prairies and southern Canada since July 16 and 17th. 

Near to record breaking heat across the Great Plains along with multiple low-pressure systems and frontal boundaries tracked through parts of Canada last week. Large hail, between golf ball to tennis ball size (up to 6.4 cm) impacted populated regions in central Alberta on July 16, between Edmonton and Calgary. The hailstorms damaged property, siding, windows, vehicles, and crops across affected towns, including Shantz, Eagle Hill, Olds, Drayton Valley and Red Deer. 

By July 17, wind and hail damage including downed trees and utility lines were reported in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  

Western Ontario also saw an overnight storm that caused notable impacts, including the forced evacuation of Caliper Lake Provincial Park, according to provincial officials.  

Severe storms in southern Ontario on July 20 prompted tornado warnings and generated non-negligible damages including damaged homes and crops, snapped trees, and left nearly 16,000 customers without power, particularly near London.  

From these events, total economic losses were expected to reach well into the millions (USD). 

However, a catastrophe is defined as a natural disaster exceeding $30 million or more in insured damage (up from $25 million previously), so it doesn’t seem likely that these events will result in a Cat.

Heat and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings persist coast-to-coast today, according to Environment Canada.  

Powerful storms, severe thunderstorms and potential tornadoes caused by a mix of heat and humidity were reported in Ontario today and yesterday, just weeks after a May derecho caused an estimated $875 million in insured damage.

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