Colorado flood damage could exceed $1 billion
The waters have not yet receded in some places, but already officials and businesses around the state are tallying up the costs.
It's only September, but already 2013 has been a hellacious year for natural disasters in Colorado.
June wildfires in the Colorado Springs area were some of the costliest in state history. And now, the historic floods in northern Colorado are expected to not only impact residents directly in harm's way, but some important state industries -- including tourism, oil and agriculture.
Given the overall scope of the destruction, warns The Weather Channel, "don't be surprised to see the total damage figure from this event exceeding $1 billion, once damage to homes, roads, bridges, other infrastructure and agricultural losses is estimated."
As of Monday, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, more than 1,500 homes have been destroyed, while nearly 17,500 other residential structures have been damaged and around 11,750 people forced to evacuate.
One of the big concerns is how the devastation will affect Colorado's essential tourism industry, both in the long- and short-term. In 2008, according to state figures, tourism employed over 144,000 people locally -- while in 2009 visitors to Colorado spent $8.6 billion on tourism-related expenditures.
And those expenditures are especially important to the state's high-country towns near prime Colorado tourist destinations. A recent study found visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park added close to $200 million to local economies annually while creating more than 2,700 jobs. Towns like Estes Park, just outside the national park, are digging out and hoping for the best -- while evaluating their losses.
"It's an economic blow. A financial haircut," Ernie Petrocine, owner of Outdoor World, told The Estes Park Trail Gazette. His store's interior is coated in mud and he's planning a half-price sale for damaged merchandise. "For the town, too, since they live off the sales tax revenue," he added.
Rick Benton, general manager of the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, tells MSN moneyNOW there are 50 local operations still open for business -- including a number of resorts -- and that the town is "is rapidly recovering due to a great town administration and emergency response teams."
Meanwhile, analysts say that many small businesses across the state, under financial pressure from the economic downturn and dealing with recent drought conditions, do not have the flood insurance needed to cover their current losses -- which could cripple or permanently close down a large number of operations.
But Colorado will bounce back, says Martin Shields, an economics professor at Colorado State University. "We'll rebuild roads and we'll rebuild bridges, and that's actually going to create jobs," he told MSN moneyNOW. "There will be probably a lot of federal money that comes in and that will be good from a jobs perspective."
OK Here goes. I am an insurance adjuster and there is one thing you all should know. Flood insurance must be voted in by the community (local politicians). If it is not and you do not live in a flood plane you cannot get it even if you want it. Most of those affected do not live in a 100 year flood zone so therefore, they cannot get flood insurance. Number 2. Very few of these people are the rich or upper middle class. These people are the hard working people that go to work every day and pay their taxes. Their tax dollars went to help those hurt by 911, Katrina and several other previous disasters where other people had no insurance to cover their losses so they should have theirs and your tax dollars help them now when they are in need (wouldn't you want the same assistance).
All I ask is that you put yourselves in their shoes. One day it is fine and life is good and then BAM, everything you own is gone. Your house, cars and all your personal property and possibly even a family member or two. There was no insurance available for you to purchase prior to the flood event. Would you not want assistance.
Notice I use the word assistance. There are no handouts except from Red Cross, Salvation Army, or church groups. The money available is from FEMA and comes in the form of a loan from SBA.
Again all I ask is that you put yourselfs in their shoes and think about what if this happened to you.
Maybe the day will come for you.
I live in Denver, Colorado surrounded by the flooding... Thats DENVER,COLORADO, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Where's our President? Our state carried him through the last elections, and this is how he repays us? NO show, no support, concern. I don't want to here any crap that he's busy dealing with Syria. Colorado is America, not Syria. Had I known that this is how he prioritizes important issues, he never would have won. This is another example how America (president, senators, congressmen) spends AMERICAN money helping other nations and not their own people who foot the bill. This MUST STOP! All I can say now is F_ _ _ You Obama, don't come to Colorado anymore!
Former long time democrat.
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