Tornadoes Wreak Havoc in Midwest for Second Day

Updated: 1:58 p.m. EST

NU Online News Service, March 1, 11:46 a.m. EST

A storm system that tore through the Midwest Tuesday continued its destructive path Wednesday, producing more tornadods and claiming 12 lives so far.

The storm system devastated the towns of Branson, Mo., and Harrisburg, Ill., but tornado activity was reported from Nebraska east into Kentucky over the two day period.

The National Weather Service gave a preliminary report of 25 tornados on Tuesday and eight yesterday.

The worst outbreak was in Southern Illinois and Missouri where hundreds of homes and buildings were destroyed.

Reports say the tornado that hit Harrisburg was an EF-4 with winds topping 170 mph claiming six lives.

According to reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter Cat-i report both Kansas andMissouri experienced EF-2 tornados with winds between 111 mph and 135 mph.

A spokeswoman for State Farm says that by this morning the claims count stood at 960 up from close to 800 claims from late yesterday. The damage reports were from a combination of tornados, hail storms and straight line winds. Of the 539 claims from Missouri, most were from Branson. Reports of claims out of Illinois and Indiana were not updated from yesterday. 

She adds that residents are preparing for a third day of unsettled weather in the region.

The Insurance Services Office's Property Claims Services has assigned a catastrophe number to the multi-state severe weather incident and is still collecting loss information. It has not yet developed a loss estimate. A catastrophe is defined as a loss event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses. 

The start of this year has been a very active one for tornados, with more than 120 reported for January and February. The three-year average covering 2009 to 2011 is 50.

Last year was one for the record books, with more than 1,700 tornadoes, the deadliest occurring in Joplin, Mo. According to the National Weather Service, last year’s tornadoes took a total of 550 lives.

According to Swiss Re, 2011 was the second costliest year for insured catastrophe losses with a total of $108 billion. 

This story was updated at 1:58 p.m. EST with updated figures from State Farm and ISO declaration. 

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