Catastrophic flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ida caused up to tens of billions of dollars in damages to residential and commercial properties throughout the northeast last week, a new report estimates.
Losses throughout the region could range from $16 billion to $24 billion, according to a study released Wednesday by CoreLogic, with roughly 90 percent of the impact concentrated in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
“Given the prevalence of multifamily housing and below-ground structures in these areas, we’ll see more extreme interior content damages than we typically see in southern coastal areas,” said CoreLogic’s Shelly Yerkes. “For example, many of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in New York City buildings are in the basements, so contents damage should be substantial.”
Insured losses on residential and commercial buildings are estimated to be between $5 billion and $8 billion, while uninsured losses could be between $11 billion and $16 billion.
But the damage, particularly in New York City, could have been much worse had it not been for structural improvements made following severe flooding brought by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Due to the repairs made in 2012, such as strengthening buildings and infrastructure and addressing deferred maintenance, New York was less vulnerable,” said CoreLogic’s David Smith. “Tropical Storm Ida’s effects on New Yorkers would have been worse if we hadn’t conducted these resilience-based repairs after Superstorm Sandy.”
Ida slammed into New York City on Sept. 1st, bringing unexpected flooding to areas throughout the five boroughs. So far, 13 deaths in the city have been attributed to the storm; at least 11 of the victims were reportedly in basement apartments.
The deaths have brought new scrutiny to illegal basement dwellings. The New York City Police Department is reportedly investigating six different incidents, which could lead to criminal charges for property owners.