Iowa flood price tag at $2 billion and growing

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:30 PM GMT on June 17, 2008

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Preliminary damage estimates from the June 2008 Midwest flood puts agricultural damage in Iowa alone at $1.0 billion. At least another $1.0 billion in property damage has likely occurred--$762 million of that in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The price tag is sure to grow, as many locations downstream are facing record flood heights this week. Levee overtopping is possible in at least 28 locations along the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the coming days, according to the Army Corp of Engineers. This year's flooding is one of the ten most damaging non-hurricane flood events in the U.S. since 1980, according to the list of billion dollar weather disasters maintained by the National Climatic Data Center. The damage from this year's flood will not come close to the record $26.7 billion in damage from the catastrophic 1993 flood, though.


Figure 1. Number of billion-dollar weather disasters in the U.S. since 1980. While it is possible that climate change has contributed to the increase in billion-dollar disasters since 1980, increases in population and wealth are primarily responsible. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

Billion dollar flooding disasters, 1980-2007
Below is a list of all billion-dollar flooding disasters not due to a hurricane or tropical storm in the U.S. between 1980 and 2008. Two damage figures are given for events prior to 2007. The first figure represents actual dollar costs at the time of the event and is not adjusted for inflation. The value in parenthesis is the costs normalized to 2007 dollars using a GNP inflation index.

Midwest flooding of 2008. At least $2 billion in damage.

Northeast Flooding June 2006. Severe flooding over portions of the northeast due to several weeks of heavy rainfall, affecting the states of NY, PA, DE, MD, NJ, and VA. Over $1.0 billion in damage/costs; at least 20 deaths reported.

Texas Flooding October-November 1998. Severe flooding in southeast Texas from 2 heavy rain events, with 10-20 inch rainfall totals; approximately $1.0 (1.1) billion damage/costs; 31 deaths.

Northern Plains Flooding April-May 1997. Severe flooding in Dakotas and Minnesota due to heavy spring snow melt; approximately $3.7 (4.1) billion damage/costs; 11 deaths.

MS and OH Valleys Flooding and Tornadoes March 1997. Tornadoes and severe flooding hit the states of AR, MO, MS, TN, IL, IN, KY, OH, and WV, with over 10 inches in 24 hours in Louisville; estimated $1.0 (1.1) billion damage/costs; 67 deaths.

West Coast Flooding December 1996-January 1997. Torrential rains (10-40 inches in 2 weeks) and snow melt produce severe flooding over portions of California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana; approximately $3.0 (3.4) billion damage/costs; 36 deaths.

Pacific Northwest Severe Flooding February 1996. Very heavy, persistent rains (10-30 inches) and melting snow over Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana; approximately $1.0 (1.2) billion damage/costs; 9 deaths. Special Report

Blizzard of '96 Followed by Flooding January 1996. Very heavy snowstorm (1-4 feet) over Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast; followed by severe flooding in parts of same area due to rain and snow melt; approximately $3.0 (3.5) billion damage/costs; 187 deaths.

Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana/Mississippi Severe Weather and Flooding May 1995. Torrential rains, hail, and tornadoes across Texas - Oklahoma and southeast Louisiana - southern Mississippi, with Dallas and New Orleans areas (10-25 inches in 5 days) hardest hit; $5.0-$6.0 (6.5-7.1) billion damage/costs; 32 deaths.

California Flooding January-March 1995. Frequent winter storms cause 20-70 inches rainfall and periodic flooding across much of California; over $3.0 (3.6) billion damage/costs; 27 deaths.

Texas Flooding October 1994. Torrential rain (10-25 inches in 5 days) and thunderstorms cause flooding across much of southeast Texas; approximately $1.0 (1.2) billion damage/costs; 19 deaths.

Midwest Flooding Summer 1993. Severe, widespread flooding in central U.S. due to persistent heavy rains and thunderstorms; approximately $21.0 (26.7) billion damage/costs; 48 deaths.

Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana/Arkansas Flooding May 1990. Torrential rains cause flooding along the Trinity, Red, and Arkansas Rivers in TX, OK, LA, and AR; over $1.0 (1.4) billion damage/costs; 13 deaths.

Western Storms and Flooding 1982 - Early 1983. Storms and flooding related to El Niño, especially in the states of WA, OR, CA, AZ, NV, ID, UT, and MT; approximately $1.1 (2.2) billion in damage/costs; at least 45 deaths.

Gulf States Storms and Flooding 1982 - Early 1983. Storms and flooding related to El Niño, especially in the states of TX, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, and FL; approximately $1.1 (2.2) billion in damage/costs; at least 50 deaths.

New Orleans still vulnerable to a strong Category 2 hurricane
NOAA announced Monday that the rebuilt New Orleans levee system cannot withstand a strong Category 2 or higher hurricane without overtopping occurring. The Army Corp of Engineers has been given $7.1 billion so far to repair New Orleans' levees in the wake of the catastrophic failures experienced during Hurricane Katrina of 2005. Congress is considering giving another $5.7 billion for the effort. While the levees may get overtopped in a strong Category 2 hurricane, they should be more resistant to catastrophic breaches such as occurred in Katrina, when several flood walls completely failed. The Army Corps says that they have fixed the levees with better support so that water won't be able to scour out the base, and put better clay in them to keep them from dissolving.

Tropics
It's quiet in the tropics. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.


Jeff Masters

Do Not Try This! (nauvoo)
I am trying to get back from a riverfront home that I am trying to keep the pumps running at. This was a well traveled road.
Do Not Try This!
Where did Alexandria go? (nauvoo)
From the bridge at the IA/MO state line it does not look like much is left.
Where did Alexandria go?
Water over the sandbags! (nauvoo)
They could not keep up with the rising waters at this historic train station on the river front.4 more feet of water are forecast.
Water over the sandbags!

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1029. guygee
3:31 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
This is a fun site:

Generate soundings from MAPS or RUC Analyses and Forecasts, RAOBS, Profilers, Radiometers...

You can generate an interactive java upper air sounding diagram for an arbitrary lat-long with global coverage by choosing GFS as the data source.

Enter a latitude and longitude (in decimal, with west and south being negative), separated by a comma.

For example, in the vicinity of the CAtl wave, say roughly 13.5N, 56.0W (13.5,-56.0):
Upper Air Plot from GFS 09Z 3 hr forecast

Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3148
1028. weathermanwannabe
3:01 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Well; Gotta get some work done and I'll be back later.........Very Nice Synopsis Storm...
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1027. IKE
2:59 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1025. nrtiwlnvragn 9:58 AM CDT on June 19, 2008
New Blog...and here we go again GW


Oh no.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1026. IKE
2:59 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
NEW BLOG!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1025. nrtiwlnvragn
2:58 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
New Blog...and here we go again GW
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11055
1024. Cavin Rawlins
2:56 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1022. IKE 2:52 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
456...I know you know this...so why am I typing it...but, looks to go south of you


While the axis appears to go south of us for now, sometimes these wave amplified northwards and spread showers across the N Leewards, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. But the bulk seems to be south of us.
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1023. TheWeatherMan504
2:56 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
1022. IKE
2:52 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
456...I know you know this...so why am I typing it...but, looks to go south of you.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1021. TheWeatherMan504
2:52 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
the winds would have been far more severe in louisiana if it did not go through eyewall replacement.sorry weathermanwannabe.
Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
1020. Txrainstorm
2:51 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Thanks Patrap for the video...helps us that just set back and read the blog out here that only understand 20% of what yall are talking about but so interesting!
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1018. catastropheadjuster
2:50 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
StormW- Good Morning. Thanks for your update. I hope you been doing fine. Take care talk to ya soon.
Sheri
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1017. Cavin Rawlins
2:49 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Saint Kitts



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1016. weathermanwannabe
2:47 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1010. TheWeatherMan504 10:33 AM EDT on June 19, 2008 It was Viking that made that point, but, you raise a great point (so many factors to take into consideration at one time).....That eyewall replacement cycle is another huge factor, in terms of the timing of it, which is independent of the SST issue as a storm approaches landfall......This is exactly why this "rapid intensification" is such a pressing research issue in the field...
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1015. Cavin Rawlins
2:46 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Summer begins 2mr night at around 23:59 UTC or 7:59pm EDT/AST
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1014. IKE
2:43 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
456...what island are you on?
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1012. IKE
2:41 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
8:05 am CDST Atlantic discussion on the wave off of Africa...

"...ITCZ...

ITCZ axis is centered along 9n13w 4n25w 6n40w into northern
Brazil near 3n52w. First available vis imagery indicates that a
tropical wave is probably along 20w/21w. There is some evidence
of a cyclonic turning along the wave axis near 6n. This tropical
wave should be added on the 1200 UTC sfc map. In addition...the
hovmoller diagram is showing the wwd propagation of this
convective activity since two days ago...and the mimic-tpw also
reveals a bulge of moisture in this area."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1011. Cavin Rawlins
2:36 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Wind shear is expected to remain above 15 knots over the next 24 hrs so development before the reaching the islands is highly unlikely. Regardless of development, some more moisture in store of the islands. Even though, I'm still not expecting development once it enters the Eastern Caribbean, it will still be monitored.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1010. TheWeatherMan504
2:33 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1003. weathermanwannabe

The warmer GOM waters have me worried in the sense that recent storms, Ivan, Katrina, and Dennis all weakened as they approached the coast due to cooler waters along the coast. This year with the warmer waters a system could continue to strengthen until the point it makes landfall and that wouldn't be good. Even Opal back in 95 weakened some before landfall


Katrina weakened because it was going through The Eyewall Replacement Cycle.
Member Since: May 18, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1042
1009. weathermanwannabe
2:28 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1006. 69Viking 10:23 AM EDT on June 19, 2008 I share the same fear this season; my "gut" is telling me that the Gulf Stream (and the eddies in the Gulf and warm pockets near shore) are going to create "havoc" with some storm headed towards Florida this year and we may see a system getting "stonger" as it nears/makes landfall this year (kind of like Andrew in 92....Gives me the Heebeegeebies...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9025
1008. IKE
2:26 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1006. 69Viking 9:23 AM CDT on June 19, 2008
1003. weathermanwannabe

The warmer GOM waters have me worried in the sense that recent storms, Ivan, Katrina, and Dennis all weakened as they approached the coast due to cooler waters along the coast. This year with the warmer waters a system could continue to strengthen until the point it makes landfall and that wouldn't be good. Even Opal back in 95 weakened some before landfall.


Opal was a buzzsaw...I got the heck out of here for her. Me and my doberman pincher. Visited a motel in Sneads,FL.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1007. cchsweatherman
2:24 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Good morning all! Looking at the latest satellite loops for our oft-mentioned tropical wave, it remains a fighter. It seems very interesting that convection has been firing with this low-level circulation, albeit very sheared. If this tropical wave could continue firing convection and survive through the 40-50 kt. shear zone that has developed, then this tropical wave could become interesting in the Caribbean. It has become very apparent that dry air is not a great inhibiting factor with this wave. Once can only wonder what could have happened if the shear had not increased.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
1006. 69Viking
2:23 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1003. weathermanwannabe

The warmer GOM waters have me worried in the sense that recent storms, Ivan, Katrina, and Dennis all weakened as they approached the coast due to cooler waters along the coast. This year with the warmer waters a system could continue to strengthen until the point it makes landfall and that wouldn't be good. Even Opal back in 95 weakened some before landfall.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
1005. IKE
2:21 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
57.3 was the low.
56.5 was the low dew-point.
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1004. 69Viking
2:19 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
998. IKE

LOL! 50's, wow that would be nice. Stayed in the 70's along the coast, currently 81.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
1003. weathermanwannabe
2:19 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
995. 69Viking 10:12 AM EDT on June 19, 2008

Lol..No problem Dude...Anomoly or not, we had plenty of high pressure dominating recently foe several weeks up here and water temps around the coast "shot up" (around the time I was on the water off of Grayton Beach in late May)....Common sense tells me that rapid intensification may be a huge issue with any storms approching the Florida SE coast, or, the FL Gulf later in the season.....
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1002. IKE
2:19 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
1000. TampaSpin 9:17 AM CDT on June 19, 2008
Forget about the CAtl thing look near South Amer....lol


That blob is headed for Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Shear is low...not much time though.
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1001. guygee
2:18 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Thank you 456, good info for all, as usual.
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1000. TampaSpin
2:17 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Forget about the CAtl thing look near South Amer....lol
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999. IKE
2:17 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Panama City, FL 84.0 °F
Apalachicola, FL 84.9 °F
Grand Isle, LA 84.0 °F
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
998. IKE
2:15 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
995. 69Viking 9:12 AM CDT on June 19, 2008
984. weathermanwannabe

Well then you know I can be a smart#$% and stir the pot when times are quiet. Yes I would say the water temps around Destin are an anomoly this year. I had 83.3 degree water in the Destin Pass on an incoming tide almost 2 weeks ago for the first weekend in June. Jelly fish are already floating through Crab Island stinging people. This is the first year I've seen that in June, usually it's late July or August before the Jelly's come. I wonder how high the water temps are going to go in August. I've seen 90 to 91 in the past, what will it be this year though I don't know.


They may cool back a degree or 2...it got down into the 50's this morning at my house...granted, I'm 30 miles from the coast...but, it's not near 90 now at Apalachee Bay!
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997. IKE
2:13 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Once it gets by the islands the shear slackens some....
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996. IKE
2:12 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
That wave would have had a good chance at development if not for 40-50 knots of shear....

CIMSS 1200UTC shear
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995. 69Viking
2:12 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
984. weathermanwannabe

Well then you know I can be a smart#$% and stir the pot when times are quiet. Yes I would say the water temps around Destin are an anomoly this year. I had 83.3 degree water in the Destin Pass on an incoming tide almost 2 weeks ago for the first weekend in June. Jelly fish are already floating through Crab Island stinging people. This is the first year I've seen that in June, usually it's late July or August before the Jelly's come. I wonder how high the water temps are going to go in August. I've seen 90 to 91 in the past, what will it be this year though I don't know.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
994. Cavin Rawlins
2:12 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
993. guygee 2:07 PM GMT on June 19, 2008

To answer your question yes, a wave can retain its identity below the inversion which extends to 600 mb. But leftovers made it sound like clouds on IR means there is not high shear.
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993. guygee
2:07 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
991. Weather456

456 - Cannot the wave "hold it's own" in the inversion at the surface levels and retain its identity, even though at the upper levels there are intense westerlies?

I would be interested in a further explanation of your comment.

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992. IKE
2:06 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Buoy at 14.6N, 56.2W........

Wind Direction (WDIR): ENE ( 60 deg true )
24-hour plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 18.1 kts
24-hour plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 5.6 ft
24-hour plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
24-hour plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.94 in
24-hour plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.02 in ( Rising )
24-hour plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 81.3 °F
24-hour plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 80.6 °F
24-hour plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 75.6 °F
24-hour plot - Heat Index Heat Index (HEAT): 87.8 °F
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
991. Cavin Rawlins
2:01 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
958. leftovers 12:44 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Hey disagree with you Koritte and Ike if shear was as bad your map says there would not be a cloud on the IR Looks to me the tw is holding its own. I also dont believe the water temp maps. They are too warm SP.


Clouds can be on a map with 200 knots of shear. Wind shear does not dertermine cloud formation, wind shear determines TC formation. The fact that clouds are on the IR map is due the diffluence of westerlies, not becuz the wave is holding its own.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
990. Patrap
1:59 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
GOM 120 Hour Surface Current Forecast Model (using HYCOM) Link
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989. TheWeatherMan504
1:59 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
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988. Littleninjagrl
1:59 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
That's too bad TampaSpin. Maybe try again tomorrow or on the weekend. You have mail BTW.
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987. fmbill
1:59 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Cool video, Patrap.

Thanks for sharing.
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986. Patrap
1:58 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
GOM 120 Hour Water Surface Temperature Forecast Model (using HYCOM)
Area Specific Link
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985. TampaSpin
1:58 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Ninja i hated cancellin my fishing today, but it appears way to many Storms today...
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984. weathermanwannabe
1:56 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
978. 69Viking 9:50 AM EDT on June 19, 2008 Well, a lot of folks on the Blog have their particular areas of interests and "pet peeves" so to speak, and I do pay attention (when I am awake).....I know that you (and I am an avid fisherman also) have been talking a lot about the high SST's around Destin and the like for several weeks now (we all know what will happen if a storm gets into the Gulf this year), so, what is you position on the current SST's around Destin; Anomoly or Not?
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983. TampaSpin
1:55 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Mornin Ninja
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982. Patrap
1:54 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
GOES-12 WV CH-3 with Dry Air Shaded loop Link
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981. Littleninjagrl
1:53 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
Good Morning Tampa Spin, Good morning everyone!
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980. Patrap
1:52 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
GOES-12 WV Big Pic of the Tropical Basin Link
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979. 69Viking
1:52 PM GMT on June 19, 2008
970. jphurricane2006

Good points JP! BTW, good morning everyone. Looks like this wave is holding it's own still despite all the negatives against it.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.