Tornado, Flood Damage Tops $260 Billion

By Mike Colpitts

Catastrophic flooding along the Mississippi River and the outbreak of tornadoes in the Midwest and South are destroying thousands of devistation homes and businesses. The series of disasters are estimated to top $260 billion in property damage, according to initial estimates gathered from federal and state authorities.

A tornado believed to be just shy of an F-5 with winds that were estimated to be 198-miles-per-hour just two m.p.h. below the maximum rating struck Joplin, Missouri Sunday. More than 30% of Joplin’s buildings were damaged or destroyed by the twister as it moved through the area. Forecasters call for more severe weather Tuesday to strike the region.

The Red Cross alone estimates that the cost to respond to the series of tornadoes in April, flooding and other disasters to reach $31 million with additional expenses to be incurred for Mississippi River flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working with local officials in seven states impacted by the disasters. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Missouri this morning to direct disaster preparations and provide support to victims of the tornado in Joplin. “What happened over the weekend in Missouri, Minnesota and Kansas, is simply heartbreaking, and all of us are thinking of and praying for the families and communities devastated by these deadly storms,” said Fugate.

Mighty Mississippi River flooding

The outbreak of severe weather may be as a result of Global Warming, according to scientists, who credit dramatic weather pattern changes as part of the growing phenomenon associated with the extreme weather conditions.

Exposure to storm surge from hurricanes in ten major urban areas along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines has the potential of causing billions of dollars in damage to residential structures in addition to the home and property damages already sustained from the tornados and flooding, according to a separate report from Core Logic, a provider of financial and property information services.

Core Logic developed the Storm Surge Report and released its findings earlier in May to enhance an understanding of the heightened risk that storm waves pose to homes built closely or on beaches that may sustain damage from hurricane driven flooding.

Storm surge high enough to trigger severe damage to homes along coastal regions of the U.S. are usually driven by the high winds and low pressure associated with hurricanes. The last two years have been tame by comparison to earlier years in much of the U.S. but warming waters driven by El Nino’ in the Pacific Ocean may provide the ingredients for another disastrous hurricane season.