Flood Damage Estimate Soars to $12 Billion
AccuWeather's damage estimate factors in official states' estimates while incorporating independent methods to evaluate all direct and indirect impacts of the flooding damage based on a variety of sources and statistics.
The flooding erupted in the wake of a historic bomb cyclone and the economic damage rivals that of some of the worst hurricanes to hit the U.S. The $12.5 billion estimate for flooding this spring would compare to Hurricanes Matthew (2016) and Irene (2011).
"Our decades of experience forecasting high-impact weather events and witnessing the damage left behind enable us to calculate damage estimates that have proven to be the most accurate," said Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder and CEO. "These losses occurred in farm states that contribute significantly to the nation's Gross Domestic Product. With the ground already saturated and more flooding rain expected, our independent forecast shows that the aggregate economic toll of these floods will be far greater than official estimates initially suggest. Official estimates of damage do not fully take into account uninsured losses as well as lost work hours and damage sustained by contaminated water, in addition to a range of other direct and indirect impacts."
AccuWeather's $12.5 billion estimate includes damage to homes, their contents, and cars, business and farm losses - including crops and livestock - contamination of drinking water wells, infrastructure damage, auxiliary business losses and the long-term impact from the flooding, which will likely contribute to, and exacerbate, health issues.
Devastating flooding in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Missouri this spring already has led to billion-dollar damage estimates in those states, according to officials. "When we look at the crop losses, the lost economic activity, it quickly climbs above $2 billion," Iowa Farm Bureau senior economist Sam Funk told The Des Moines Register.