On November 17, a cluster of rare fall tornados tore through the Midwest, causing damage in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. According to a report released by the Insurance Journal, the region could ultimately see $1 billion in losses, making it one of the most expensive November-loss events in recent history.
Washington, Illinois, was likely the most affected community; emergency responders say that they believe at least 1,000 homes in the town were damaged by the tornados and that many homes were leveled. Located about two hours out of Chicago in Tazewell County, the 13,000 residents of Washington are dealing with ruined structures, downed trees, mangled power lines, and leveled buildings.
American Family Insurance reported that they sent all of their 40 insurance adjusters to the scene from around the state to deal with hundreds of tornado claims. In the hours and days after the storm, their adjusters wrote checks to families for emergency expenses and helped families make immediate repairs to their damaged homes, like covering ripped roofs and broken windows.
While many families are calling their insurance companies, officials have also allowed insurance company representatives to gather in the parking lot of the old park district administration building so that they may meet with customers.
The catastrophe modeling firm RMS reported that there were 81 tornados in the region between November 17 and 18, the latest anomaly in an odd storm season that should have reached its peak months ago. The storms are thought to be caused by, “unseasonably strong thermodynamic instability and unusually strong wind shear throughout the depth of the atmosphere.”
Six people died in the storms, while dozens of others were treated for serious injuries.
We wish all those affected by this horrible weather fast and complete recoveries, and we send our sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the storms.