Cost of flood damage to Memphis area up to $753 million

Topic: Miller College of Business

May 16, 2011

The Memphis area could sustain more than $753 million in damage as a result of severe flooding by the Mississippi River, according to a preliminary estimate by a Ball State University economist.

The river is overflowing due to weeks of intense storms in the Midwest combined with melting of heavy winter snow in the upper Midwest, said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER).

Preliminary estimates of damage to the Memphis area are derived from a  model using historical data from the upper Mississippi floods of 1993. It relies on economic, geographic and flood specific data to estimate aggregate damages and damage in selected categories. The model was developed by Hicks with Mark Burton, director of transportation economics at the University of Tennessee.

Damage estimates by category area:

  • residential structures: $181 million
  • commercial structures: $122 million
  • residential contents: $83 million
  • commercial equipment: $50 million
  • other, including crops and utilities: $313 million

Hicks said his projections represent total damage, not merely insured properties and so will likely differ from estimates provided by insurance underwriters and their consultants.

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