the time it made landfall along Georgia, it
had become a Category 1 storm, causing
significant flooding in Georgia and South
In 2016, wind activity across the U.S. was
slightly higher than in previous years, and
CoreLogic’s wind verification technology
found that 961,661 miles or 31 percent of
the continental U.S. was affected by wind
gusts of 60 mph or more.
Tallahassee, Fla., registered the highest
wind speed at 92 mph on Sept. 1. However, CoreLogic found that Nashville, Tenn.,
ranks as the windiest city overall with 21
wind-related events and a maximum wind
speed of 72 mph.
Other windy cities last year included
Reno, Nev.; Jackson, Miss.; Cincinnati,
Ohio; and Columbia, S.C.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found
that Oklahoma led the country in earthquakes measuring a magnitude 3.0 or higher, since 60 percent of the 943 quakes occurred in that state during 2016. In less than
10 years, Oklahoma has gone from being a
state with relatively little seismic activity to
surpass California as the leader with the
highest number of earthquakes in the U.S.
This increase is attributed to the increase in
drilling for oil and gas in the state and the
injection of waste water into fluid injection
The good news is that the number of
earthquakes in California has remained relatively stable except when there was a major
event that spawned aftershocks.
The largest earthquake in Oklahoma’s
history occurred on Sept. 3, 2016, when a
magnitude 5. 8 earthquake shook residents
in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. A 6. 5
magnitude earthquake occurred about 100
miles off of the coast of Ferndale, Calif., but
little damage was reported.
Fortunately for much of the country, wild-
fire activity in 2016 was significantly less
than in 2015, when a record was set for the
total number of acres burned. There were
31 fires that engulfed more than 20,000
acres (considered large fires) compared to
the 67 fires that affected more than 20,000
acres in 2015.
A fire near Gatlinburg, Tenn., was the result of arson and grew to encompass more
than 16,000 acres. Over 1,700 structures
were damaged or destroyed and 14 lives
were loss, ranking it as the worse fire to occur last year.
According to the 2016 CoreLogic
Wildfire Hazard Risk Report, there are
1.8 million homes in the western U.S.
alone that are considered to be at high
risk for wildfire damage, and while not
all of them would be impacted in a single
season, knowing where the risks fall allows owners and insurers to take steps to
mitigate some of the threat.
In 2016, hail activity was average for
much of the continental U.S., with CoreLogic identifying 243,647 square miles
( 7. 8 percent) as being impacted by severe
hail, which is one inch in diameter or
larger according to the National Weather
Service. In April, San Antonio, Texas, was
pummeled by baseball-size hailstones
and caused almost $1.4 billion in estimated losses.
In May, a storm in Fort Worth caused
an estimated $1.1 billion in damage. There
were also significant hail storms in the
Dallas and Fort Worth metro areas where
softball-size hail that measured up to 4. 25
inches was reported.
When it comes to tornadoes, 2016 was a
relatively quiet year with 1,059 reported.
One of the strongest was an EF- 4 that occurred on May 25th near three towns in
Kansas: Solomon, Abilene and Chapman.
At its largest, the storm was a half-mile
wide and traveled 26 miles at an estimated 180 mph.
February was the busiest month with 102
confirmed tornadoes, making it the second
most active February since 2008.
Depending on whether or not the La
Niña conditions continue into 2017, there
could be an increase in storm activity and
The winter of 2015-2016 was a study in
contrasts. After several months of above av-
erage temperatures (the NOAA said from
Dec. 2015 to Feb. 2016 was the warmest
winter in 121 years), everything changed.
In late January, more than 100 mil-
lion people along the East Coast were
affected by a major storm that dropped
record amounts of snow in major cit-
ies like Baltimore, Washington, Phila-
delphia and New York. At JFK Airport
in New York City, a record 30. 5 inches
fell, breaking the previous record of 26
inches set in 2003.
All of these numbers help to paint a more
complete picture of how weather events
are impacting policyholders and insurers
across the country. By observing trends and
areas with greater risk, they can provide
some advance warning as to what may lie
ahead in the future.
According to the 2016 CoreLogic
Wildfire Hazard Risk Report, there
are 1.8 million homes in the western
U.S. alone that are considered to be
at high risk for wildfire damage.