European Windstorm: Listing of Global Events & Economic Loss

Global European Windstorm Review includes a select listing of global events that resulted in >USD 100mn in economic loss and/or >10 fatalities. It does not include a listing of aggregated loss totals from agencies which are not easily attributed to an individual event.

European windstorms are powerful extratropical cyclones which form as cyclonic windstorms associated with areas of low atmospheric pressure. They can occur throughout the year, but are most frequent between October and March, with peak intensity in the winter months.

Extratropical cyclones produce a range of weather effects, from clouds and light showers to blizzards and storms; they are the most significant contributor to natural catastrophe insurance loss in Europe.

European Windstorm in 2022

Event NameDateRegionEconomic Losses
   (USD mn)
 Hannelore Jan. 16–17 Europe 112
Malik, Nadia, ValtteriJan. 29–30Europe509
RoxanaFeb. 6–7Europe153
Dudley, Eunice, FranklinFeb. 16–21Europe5,944
NasimApril 6–7Europe249
Source: Beinsure by Gallagher Re

Deep areas of low pressure are common over the North Atlantic, and occasionally start as nor’easters off the New England coast. They frequently track across the North Atlantic Ocean towards the north of Scotland and into the Norwegian Sea, which generally minimizes the impact to inland areas; however, if the track is further south, it may cause adverse weather conditions across Central Europe, Northern Europe and especially Western Europe. The countries most commonly affected include the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

On average, storms cause economic damage of around €1.9 billion per year and insurance losses of €1.4 billion per year. They cause the highest amount of natural catastrophe insurance loss in Europe.

The strong wind phenomena intrinsic to European windstorms, that give rise to “damage footprints” at the surface, can be placed into three categories, namely the “warm jet”, the “cold jet” and the “sting jet”. These phenomena vary in terms of physical mechanisms, atmospheric structure, spatial extent, duration, severity level, predictability and location relative to cyclone and fronts.