How much does a flood cost a city?

How about over a billion dollars in Cedar Rapids (where flooding affected 9.2 square miles--roughly 1/7th of the city) alone?

City officials last night estimated the cost to clean up and repair or replace flood-damaged city buildings and other infrastructure at $504 million.

In addition, the officials estimated that it would cost another $810 million to protect the city against future floods through an assortment of mitigation efforts like levees, floodwalls, a possible reservoir and property buyouts.

City Manager Jim Prosser called the numbers "staggering."

He spoke in billions: half a billion dollars for cleanup, repair and replacement; $1.3 billion in total including future flood protection.

Here in Iowa City, damage to the University was recently estimated at almost a quarter of a billion dollars, and it will likely reach close to that figure by the time the final tallies are finished. Damage to the city properties isn't included in that total. Damage to agriculture in the midwest has been estimated at 8 billion dollars--half of that in Iowa. And in some areas, clean-up haven't even begun; the river just officially dropped below flood stage only a few days ago. Many roads remain closed due to either flood waters or the damage said waters inflicted, and in areas where cleanup has begun, the landscape is awash with dumpsters and buildings stripped down to the studs. And some of the flooded houses likely won't ever be repaired:

Increasingly clear, though, Bell said, is that the city is apt to see many houses sitting empty because they have sustained too much damage and are too costly to repair.

She reported that 51 percent of those who have registered here for flood relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are over the age of 60. Some of those people owned their houses outright, didn't have flood insurance and live on fixed incomes.

And as I mentioned previously, infections and injuries associated with flooding have been reported, and unfortunately few people seem to be heeding (or remembering) flood safety instructions.

The specter of the Great Flood of '08 will cast a pall over this area for a long time to come...

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Those figures don't even seem to include the economic losses from lost work while businesses were shut down. ADM, The Cedar River Paper Company, Quaker Oats and Penford were all down for extended periods, along with most everyone who worked downtown. My employer, Alliant Energy, seems to still be the only thing operating here and it took us a month to come back.

I saw some idiot tourists in innertubes in Dairy Queen's parking lot the evening of June 11th. The police had to come chase them out before they got sucked under the 1st Ave bridge. It seems no matter how many times the newslady told some people about tetanus, they wouldn't listen.

The housing market probably drastically improved for all the places that weren't flooded and Westdale has received a nice infusion of downtown businesses. I under Chick Fillet can't hire peopel fast enough to make all the food the new mall residents are eating, so a couple did well, at least.

I followed safety instructions during the Findlay flood last summer.99%
don't.Wearing rubber boots,long gloves,long pants and shirts,hat and mask while doing heavy lifting,cleanup and repair in hot weather is
stressful.And then later a million mosquitoes to make it even worse.
Pumped 2 feet of clear water out of basement and then got 6 feet of brown water and then pump died.It's like riding up a mtn. range on a bike- shift down and relax-you can always get killed on the downhill.
Basement all cleaned and fixed up now. Comes in handy when the tornadoes come thru.
Rapid City,Grand Forks and 1913 Dayton are good rebuilds.Cedar Rapids might have a plan before Findlay.
I had fun greyhound trip going west a long time back. A guy got on in a little town and handed out lsd to all the left people.Had another beautiful ride in the back of truck from Iowa City to Madison. Nice

By nowhereoh (not verified) on 15 Jul 2008 #permalink