AccuWeather estimates the total damage and economic loss caused by Imelda will be $8 billion, according to the company’s Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers, based on an analysis of damages expected from major flooding caused by heavy rainfall over eastern Texas and far southwestern Louisiana.
The estimate includes damage to homes and businesses, as well as their contents and cars, job and wage losses, farm and crop losses, contamination of drinking water wells, infrastructure damage, auxiliary business losses and the long-term impact from flooding, in addition to the lingering health effects resulting from flooding and the possible disease caused by standing water.
AccuWeather’s damage estimate incorporates independent methods to evaluate all direct and indirect impacts of the storm based on a variety of sources, statistics and unique techniques to estimate damage developed over a decade.
Given the major flooding with a high risk to lives and property in eastern Texas and far southwestern Louisiana, Imelda is rated as a 3 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™Scale for Hurricanes for the overall tropical storm. The AccuWeather Local StormMax™rainfall amount is projected to be 55 inches; despite that high total, Imelda is a 3 because the coverage area receiving the heaviest rain is not a large or populated area, such as Houston, during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Imelda was never rated on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale by the National Hurricane Center.
“This storm is a great example of the value of the AccuWeather RealImpact™Scale for Hurricanes that we invented,” Myers said. “It would be easy to dismiss Imelda since it is not a hurricane but a tropical storm, but the rain and subsequent flooding is the main source of what will be substantial damage.”