St Jude “not as bad” as previous UK storms

St Jude “not as bad” as previous UK storms

The St Jude storm, which hit the southern half of the UK last night and in the early hours of this morning, has caused at least four fatalities from falling trees, as well as disruption to London’s transport, power cuts, and property and infrastructure damage.

London’s Heathrow airport has suffered 130 flights cancelled, all of London’s over-ground rail services were cancelled during the rush-hour period, and estimates suggest between 220,000-270,000 UK homes are without power today.

However, the damage and disruption is not as serious as for some previous UK storm events, insurance advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has said, citing early indications, subject to further news.

"The UK insurance sector will pick up most of the bill from the damage caused by the storm that threatens the south of the UK. The storm is hitting the largest exposure in insurers’ books: where the density of properties is highest and where buildings are the least tested to high wind speeds,” said Mohammad Khan, an insurance partner at PwC.

The UK Met Office recorded 99mph (159km/h) winds on the Isle of Wight, off Britain’s south coast at 05:00 GMT today.

“It is too early to comment on the extent of the damage, however, early indications are that St Jude's is not as bad as the 1990 or the 1987 UK storms which cost the UK insurance industry £3.4bn and £2bn respectively,” said Khan.

The 1990 storm cut power to more than 500,000 homes in the UK, he added.

“Extreme weather in recent years, such as the Cumbrian floods in 2009, has resulted in hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damages and this storm is likely cause widespread damage to property and local infrastructure,” said Richard Stephenson, corporate communications director at insurer Axa.

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