US businesses to face billions more in costs next year due to flooding

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Businesses across the US may face a collective $13.5 billion in costs next year associated with flood damage as climate change exacerbates the severity of storms and rising sea levels cause flooding even in mainland cities, according to a new study.

Some 730,000 stores, offices and residential buildings could be hit by flood damage next year, according to First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group that focuses on climate risk.

The structural damage from flooding expected to hit those properties is projected to cost $13.5 billion next year alone, with that figure increasing to over $16.9 billion by 2052 as the effects of severe weather grow, according to the study.

First Street Foundation conducted the study in partnership with commercial engineering firm Arup.

“Business needs consistency and predictability in order to plan, invest, and grow their operations and allow communities to thrive,” said Matthew Eby, founder of First Street Foundation.

Homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana.
Homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana.
AP
A person works to clean up damage in a flooded store after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida in the Bronx.
A person works to clean up damage in a flooded store after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida in the Bronx.
REUTERS

“We are demonstrating that American businesses and local economies face much more uncertainty and unpredictability when it comes to the potential impact of flooding on their bottom line than they may realize.”

The study found that flood damage to commercial buildings could result in 3.1 million days of lost business operation next year due to downtime during repairs. That’s expected to grow almost 30 percent to 4 million days a year by 2051, according to the study.

That downtime is expected to cripple local economies across the US. The lost productivity is expected to cost the country almost $50 billion next year and is expected to grow 26.5 percent to $63.1 billion in 2052 “due to worsening flood risks associated with climate change,” according to the study.

The stadium for the Somerset Patriots Double-A baseball team is partially flooded by overflow from the Raritan River after Hurricane Ida.
The stadium for the Somerset Patriots Double-A baseball team is partially flooded by overflow from the Raritan River after Hurricane Ida.
AP
Steps from a destroyed structure sit amid mud and marsh grass from Hurricane Ida flooding, in Ironton, La.
Steps from a destroyed structure sit amid mud and marsh grass from Hurricane Ida flooding, in Ironton, La.
AP

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