Storms, including tornadoes, that ripped through several Midwest U.S. states the first week of May could well exceed the worst storm losses ever, says AIR Worldwide Corp., a division of the U.S. Insurance Services Office (ISO). The previously held record for damages as a result of thunderstorms is US$2.2 billion, set by a severe weather system that struck in early April of 2001. From May 2 to 11, 2003, severe weather hit at least 18 states through the central U.S., although AIR reports that more than 50% of the damages occurred in the 72-hour period from May 4 to 6. “This event is one for the record books in meteorological terms and very possibly in financial terms,” says Uday Virkud, senior vice president at AIR. “The high financial losses from the system can be attributed to the duration of the weather system and the sheer number of individual tornadoes, hailstorms and straight-line windstorms.” More than 400 tornado reports were received, and over 2,500 reports of straight-line winds and hail during a two-week period leading up to May 11.