Climate change is causing more damaging ‘mid-size’ storms. Insurers are taking notice

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On a Monday in early August, thunderstorms tore across the Philadelphia region. Nothing unusual, a typical summer storm.

But in the area around Chadds Ford, Delaware County the National Weather Service clocked winds at 95 mph. The storm prompted about 500 calls to the county’s 911 call center.

Cat Tucker lives on a cul-de-sac in Chadds Ford and said her husband was just hanging out at the backyard pool when their young son saw weather alerts on his phone.

“And my son’s like, ‘Dad you got to get in the house,’” she said. “So he came in and I just looked out the back, and I’ve never seen trees do that.”

What Tucker saw were trees 50 to 60 years old bent over at their trunks. Winds shaved off the tops, leaving shards of trees standing in what was once a wooded, shady neighborhood.

One large tree cut a neighbor’s house in half.

“It was apocalyptic. Everything was just down,” she said.

Cat and Robert Tucker (left) talk with Chadds Ford director of emergency services Tim Boyce (center) about the estimated cost of tree cleanup from a storm that took down many trees on their property in August, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

  • October 5, 2023
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