Property losses from Colorado floods to near $2 billion: Eqecat

Reuters
An oil storage tank on a well pad lies toppled near portable buildings surrounded with flood waters in Weld County, Colorado
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An oil storage tank on a well pad lies toppled near portable buildings surrounded with flood waters in …

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Total property losses from flooding in Colorado will run nearly $2 billion, roughly equally divided between residential losses and those in the commercial and government sectors, disaster modeling firm Eqecat estimated on Wednesday.

The firm said residential property losses alone would amount to more than $200 for each of the 4 million people living in the 17 flood-stricken counties of Colorado, based on 2012 census data, and that most of those costs are uninsured.

The projection - small compared with Eqecat's initial estimate of $20 billion in total economic losses from Superstorm Sandy last year - comes as Colorado is still coming to grips with widespread destruction from floods unleashed by torrential downpours last week.

The expected losses in Colorado include about $900 million in residential property damage and living expenses, along with an expected $1 billion in commercial and government property losses.

Rescue teams in helicopters and military vehicles scrambled again on Wednesday to reach the last pockets of survivors known to have been left stranded by the historic floods, which killed at least eight people in the eastern foothills of the Rockies.

At least 1,700 homes were reported as destroyed, most of those in hard-hit Larimer County, and an estimated 16,300 dwellings were damaged throughout the flood zone, according to preliminary estimates from state and county officials.

The U.S. Department of Transportation offered $30 million in additional flood relief to Colorado on Wednesday to help restore hundreds of miles of washed-out or weakened roads and bridges, though state and county officials say repair costs will ultimately run many times higher.

A preliminary assessment of the state's transportation infrastructure showed damage of $40 million to roads and $112 million to bridges, the federal Transportation Department said in a statement.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford said repair costs for state and county roads are likely to run hundreds of millions of dollars.

She said the state's Transportation Commission has already allocated its entire $100 million contingency fund for emergency highway and bridge repairs and would seek reimbursement from the federal government.

In Boulder County only, another area that bore the brunt of flash floods last week, early estimates put the cost of repairing damaged roads and bridges at $150 million.

(Additional writing and reporting by Steve Gorman and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, James Dalgleish and Steve Orlofsky)

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