LA Flood Costs Estimated at $15B, Mostly Uninsured

Louisiana Flood of 2016 seen costing up to $15 billion, mostly uninsured

The flooding that damaged as many as 110,000 homes and more than 100,000 vehicles in Louisiana last month cost $10 billion to $15 billion, with most of the sum uninsured, according to a risk modeler.

Private residential policies don’t protect against flooding in the U.S., and at least 80 percent of the damaged homes lacked coverage through a government program, according to a report Friday from Impact Forecasting, an arm of insurance broker Aon.

A Huge Amount of Federal Funds Has Gone to LA

From Fortune magazine, see this article titled Top Ten FEMA-Funded Disasters

This is not an easy article to follow, but what jumped out at me from viewing the chart in the middle of the article was how much federal funding has gone to the state of LA.
Clearly, some major efforts to mitigate the hazards and threats in that state are needed, not only to  to reduce human suffering and property loss, but to reduce the huge federal outlay.

Will Lessons Learned from New Orleans be Applied in Baton Rouge?

After Baton Rouge Flooding, Learning Lessons From New Orleans. Two quotes:

“The silver lining, if there is any silver lining, is that this sits in a large region that has a lot of experience with rebuilding and recovery,” said Mary L. Landrieu, a former United States senator from Louisiana, and a veteran of funding fights during the hurricane recovery. “They don’t have to go far to find experts.”

“The fact is, disaster recovery hasn’t worked well in America, ever,” said Zack Rosenburg, one of the founders of the group, which has done rebuilding work after floods in South Carolina and West Virginia. “It’s an extraordinarily challenging process.” [ Emphasis added by the Diva.]

Why Was the Damage So Great in LA?

From a professor of geography at LSU: Suburban Sprawl and Poor Preparation Worsened Flood Damage in LA

* * * based on my experience studying risk and resilience in this region, I see parallels between the damage of current flooding and the damage caused by Katrina. In both cases, human decisions magnified the consequences of extreme natural events. Planning and permitting enabled development in areas that had experienced repeat floods, and agencies had failed to complete projects designed to mitigate flood damage before the storms hit.

A Fundamental Dilemma

As Louisiana floods rage, Republicans are blocking modest climate action. If a common sense proposal for federal agencies to consider climate change in their decisions on the environment is shot down, what hope is there?

If we needed a reminder of the importance of taking climate change seriously, the floods in Louisiana are providing a big one on a daily basis. When it comes to the big environmental issues, our country’s polarization is historically unusual, and it’s already gone way too far. That’s why the latest fight to break out in Washington over climate issues needs more attention.

Looking for Federal Funds for LA

As I noted in an earlier posting, serious problems will surface in LA when the reality of no  insurance for many of the estimated 60,000 homes damaged is fully realized.

See: Louisiana residents without flood insurance face uncertainty.  Some details:

In Louisiana, an estimated 42 percent of homes in high-risk areas have flood insurance, according to FEMA. Only 12.5 percent of homeowners in low and moderate-risk zones do.

Many of the areas hit hard by record rainfall last week were not considered at high risk for flooding.

Those residents without flood insurance are eligible for up to $33,000 in FEMA individual disaster assistance funds, although most will likely receive less than that, based on payments following other major disasters.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, FEMA paid $6.6 billion to approximately 1.07 million households and individuals in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, an average of just over $6,000 per grant, according to agency figures. Superstorm Sandy in 2012 produced an average payout of under $8,000 for about 180,000 residents of New York and New Jersey.

 NOTE: See comments from Ed Thomas, President of Natural Hazards Mitigation Association.

Louisiana Is Begging for Attention – an update

This is one of several articles about the lack of national attention to the extreme flooding in LA. I got confirmation of this concern from a friend working on the disaster in LA. The Diva wants to clarify the call  for more attention, although she is dependent on secondary sources.

See: America Is Ignoring Another Natural Disaster Near the Gulf. “Southern Louisiana is drowning again. No one seems to care.”

I do give Craig Fugate, FEMA, and DHS credit for trying hard to help. Both Fuguate and the DHS Secretary have gone to visit LA.

Update on August 19: According to CNN, some folks in LA said President Obama should  cut short his vacation and pay attention to their plight.

Last night Gov. Edwards of LA was on TV. When asked his opinion re the President’s visit, he said he was welcome anytime, but that he asked the President to wait a week or two so that he would not have to divert some many resources to preparing for his visit and security. Edwards said he was satisfied with FEMA’s assistance, but was disappointed in the lack of media coverage. The latter is essential for donations to charities, like the Red Cross, which the state desperately needs to help the victims.

Today I see that president candidate Donald Trump is planning to visit the disaster area. Big question about what good that will do for the flood victims.

FEMA is Reviewing Temporary Housing Options for LA

FEMA: Unclear what housing options will be used, but don’t expect Katrina-era FEMA trailers. Some excerpts from the article:

Earlier this year, the federal government unveiled what it called the “new and improved” FEMA trailer, which is a bit roomier and includes fire sprinklers in all units.

Fugate, who traveled to Louisiana this week to assess the flood damage, said other updates have been made to make sure that the trailers comply with housing standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Flooding in LA is Setting Records

Recent news clips have indicated that roughly half of the counties in Louisiana are included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration for the severe flooding there. Here are some of the first indicators of how serious and unusual those floods are.

Disasters like Louisiana floods will worsen as planet warms, scientists warn. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to classify disaster as the eighth flood considered to be a once in every 500-year event in the US in a year

On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is set to classify the Louisiana disaster as the eighth flood considered to be a once in every 500-year event to have taken place in the US in little over 12 months.

Since May of last year, dozens of people have been killed and thousands of homes have been swamped with water in extreme events in Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland. NOAA considers these floods extreme because, based on historical rainfall records, they should be expected to occur only once every 500 years.

The Louisiana flooding has been so exceptional that some places in the state experienced storm conditions considered once-every-1,000-year events. Close to two feet of rain fell over a 48-hour period in parts of southern Louisiana, causing residents to scramble to safety from flooded homes and cars.

Another possible record setter is the number of people needing shelter. See: Red Cross Sheltering Thousands Affected by Unprecedented Flooding in Louisiana

Update:  One more take from the Washington Post on 6/16