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CoreLogic Estimates $83B-Plus in Tornado Damage Across Central U.S.

A band of severe thunderstorms and hail that crossed the central U.S. on Friday, March 31 caused property damage to an estimated 358,000 homes, resulting in approximately $83.2 billion in overall damage.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Filtered Storm Report for March 31, the severe thunderstorm system was responsible for more than 500 reports of tornadoes, large hail, and high winds from Texas to Ohio. The severe thunderstorms were responsible for extensive property damage across the impacted states, most notably tornado damage in Little Rock, Arkansas.

CoreLogic’s Weather Verification Services (WVS) and Reactor Platform captured tornado paths and hail swaths across the U.S. on March 31. More than 358,000 single- (SFR) and multi-family (MFR) homes may have sustained damage due to the combined effects of tornadoes and hail.

CoreLogic estimates that approximately 75,000 SFR and MFR properties with a combined reconstruction value (RCV) of $22 billion were potentially within the tornado paths across the country. CoreLogic notes that probability values do not indicate the severity of the damage. Instead, they reflect the likelihood that a property was within the tornado’s path.

In terms of the March 31 hail damage, CoreLogic estimates that approximately 280,000 SRFs and MRFs with a combined RCV of $61.2 billion were potentially impacted by hailstones with diameters greater than one inch.

CoreLogic notes that not all properties within the tornado footprints or hail swaths sustained damage and the degree of the damage to structures may vary. A damaged structure may not have incurred a total loss equal to the full RCV. The number of damaged properties will be a subset of the total homes within tornado paths and hail swaths.

The strong storm system that developed on March 31 pulled unseasonably warm and moist conditions from the Gulf of Mexico across the central U.S. The combination of moisture and a favorable wind profile created a volatile environment in which tornadoes could easily develop.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), two separate supercell systems spawned tornadoes in Arkansas–the first was an EF-3 tornado that extended nearly 32 miles east from West Little Rock, Arkansas, in Pulaski County to Cabot, Arkansas, in Lonoke County. The NWS estimated 165 mph peak wind speeds near Little Rock. Further east, a separate supercell spawned another tornado of at least EF-3 strength that destroyed additional homes in Wynn, Arkansas, and uprooted trees near Parkin and Earl, Arkansas.

The NWS reported in Iowa, several tornadoes caused damage to properties across the state, with intensities ranging from EF-0 to EF-4, with estimated wind speeds ranging from 74 miles per hour to 170 miles per hour.

In order to assist those stricken by these storms, HUD has announced the implementation of federal disaster relief for the state of Arkansas to assist state, and local recovery efforts for areas affected by severe storms and tornadoes on March 31, 2023. On April 2, 2023, President Biden issued a major disaster declaration for the Arkansas counties of Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski.

“HUD is committed to assisting people in Arkansas rebuild after these devastating storms,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. Today’s announcement builds on unprecedented aid from the Biden-Harris Administration to help our state and local partners get access to the resources they need to restore their communities.”

Effective immediately, HUD is providing a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as foreclosures of mortgages to Native American borrowers guaranteed under the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program. There is also a 90-day extension granted automatically for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs). The moratorium and extension are effective as of the President’s disaster declaration date.

Additionally, HUD is:

  • Making mortgage insurance available: When homes are destroyed or damaged to an extent that required reconstruction or complete replacement, HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides FHA insurance to disaster victims. Borrowers from participating FHA approved lenders are eligible for 100% financing including closing costs.
  • Making insurance available for both mortgage and home rehabilitation: HUD's Section 203(k) loan program also allows individuals to finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage. Homeowners can also finance the rehabilitation of their existing homes if damaged.
  • Sharing information on housing providers and HUD programs: Information will be shared with FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties, including Public Housing Agencies and Multi-Family owners. The Department will also connect FEMA and the State to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs and providers.
  • Providing flexibility to Community Planning and Development Grantees: Recipients of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons With HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) Program, Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program, HOME Program, and Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Program funds can apply for needed administrative flexibility in response to natural disasters.
  • Providing flexibility to Public Housing Agencies: Public Housing Agencies can apply for needed waivers and flexibilities for disaster relief and recovery. HUD also released PIH Notice 2021-34, which advises the public of HUD's expedited process for waivers and flexibilities from HUD regulatory and administrative requirements for various Public Housing and Voucher Programs.
  • Providing flexibility to Tribes: Tribes and their Tribally Designated Housing Entities can apply for needed administrative flexibility through regulatory waivers.
  • Ensuring HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are ready to assist: HUD-approved housing counseling agencies have counselors available to assist those impacted by natural disasters to determine assistance needs and available resources.
  • Assisting with housing discrimination: Housing discrimination sometimes occurs when people attempt to find and access housing following a disaster. HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is available to assist people who believe they have experienced housing discrimination.

In March, HUD announced an overhaul of the agency’s disaster recovery efforts to better serve communities who face the direct impacts of weather-related disasters. HUD is establishing an Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, the Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR) within the Office of Community Planning and Development, the addition of dozens of new HUD staff members to help expedite recovery processes, and the allocation of more than $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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