UK floods and US snow storms are connected by the destabilisation of the jet stream - Allianz

Insurable losses could exceed £1bn as water saturation post-floods in the UK will lead to further damage, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.

Global insurance lines manager Clement B Booth said the recent UK floods and US snow storms are connected and added the risks will increase in the future owing to climate change.

He said: “If these weather patterns continue, especially the unprecedented combination of rain, wind and tidal surges, more longer term and widespread risks are expected to affect global insurers.

“Currently, the southern regions of the UK are still experiencing high ground water leading to floods in low lying areas. Soil already saturated with water will take time to dry and prolong the risks to property and transportation links, causing potential losses to exceed £1bn.”

UK floods and US storms to increase

The insurer said that a strong link is developing between the melting of the Arctic ice caps and the destabilisation of the jet stream, which consists of ribbons of very strong winds that move weather systems around the earth.

Booth cited examples of extreme weather patterns where the UK floods have been coupled with ice storms across Midwestern US and Canada.

He added that temperatures in the US plummeted to levels that were colder than the North and South poles – Chicago recorded -27C in January

Booth said: “We are now seeing a strong link between the melting of the Arctic ice caps and the destabilisation of the jet stream.

“The Arctic is warming at a pace faster than anticipated by climate scientists. The slowing of the polar jet stream is making it swing further north and south, and these fluctuations will impact future weather patterns.”

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