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Sandy served as 2012's costliest natural disaster, report says

Posted On Thu, January 10, 2013

While there were a variety of highly destructive storms in 2012, the most devastating event was Hurricane Sandy, a recent natural hazard risk summary has concluded.

According to analytics and services firm CoreLogic, Hurricane Sandy was the costliest natural disaster last year. Even though the storm was classified as a Category 1 hurricane, it adversely affected a wide swath of the East Coast, leaving more than 7 million residents without power for an extended period.

In a separate report from Munich Re, insured losses from Sandy total more than $60 billion.

"Hurricane Sandy was, without a doubt, the single most destructive natural hazard event of 2012, due to the combination of environmental elements that created what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association called a ‘Frankenstorm,'" said Thomas Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic.

He added that because Sandy combined with the effects of a nor'easter, the storm was quite unique in its enormity and widespread destruction.

Though hurricanes typically bring large amounts of precipitation, drought was a major issue through much of 2012, CoreLogic notes. This led to the third-most destructive wildfire season on record in the U.S. In New Mexico, 297,000 miles of acres were scorched during a wildfire outbreak.

The report says that 2013 has the potential to be as devastating from a standpoint of drought, based on forecasts from the NOAA. During the start of 2013, there could be an increased chance of wildfire incidents, prompting those whose policies have lapsed to seek out information from insurance quotes.

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center recently reports that even though the number of wildfires fell in 2012, the average size of these events were larger, causing more acres to be burned.

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