Texas Governor: "Harvey Could Cost Up To $180 Billion"

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday that it could cost as much as $180 billion to rebuild Texas following Hurricane Harvey, more than four times what most experts expected ($40 billion). If accurate, Harvey would beat out Hurricane Katrina (total: $160 billion) for costliest storm in US history.

“Katrina caused if I recall more than $120 billion but when you look at the number of homes and business affected by this I think this will cost well over $120 billion, probably $150 to $180 billion,” Abbott told Fox News, adding, “this is far larger than Hurricane Sandy.”

Aside from a handful of meteorologists like Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, who predicted – apparently with a surprising degree of accuracy – that Harvey-related costs could pile as high as $190 billion, few anticipated the extensive flooding damage the storm would cause in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US, which contributes some $500 billion to US GDP every year.

Abbott, who offered his assessment of the damages during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said the devastation wrought by Harvey could be costlier than Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined.

But whatever the final total, Abbott said he's confident the federal government will authorize the assistance that President Trump promised, adding that the $8 billion that the White House asked for is merely a “down payment.”

Texas is still in “phase one” of the cleanup effort – i.e. first responders are still rescuing people in Beaumont and other parts of Southeastern Texas, where the storm made its second landfall.

“The president has made it clear, Congress is making it clear, this is just a down payment. Let’s not compare this to Sandy let’s compare this to Katrina. The population size is larger and the geographic size is far bigger than Hurricane Katrina and Sandy combined. It’s going to require even more than what was funded for Katrina which was $120 billion dollars…In the overall equation, the cost of this, if I understand it correctly, to rebuild Katrina was over $120 billion and when you consider the magnitude of this storm, when you look at the number of homes that have been mowed down and damaged, this is a huge catastrophe that people are going to have to come to grips with. It’s going to take years for us to overcome this challenge.”


"When you look at the number of homes and businesses affected by this, I think this will cost well over $120 billion...probably $150 [billion] to $180 billion."

Worse, according to preliminary estimates, less than 20% of Harris County homeowners are insured against flooding (some estimates have the number as low as 15%). So what will Texas do to aid these homeowners? Abbott said the state had established a fund to help ensure that all homeowners affected by the storm are “taken care of.”

“Waters are receding in Houston, but remember there are so many other parts of the state that are affected such as the Beaumont, where we’re still doing search and rescue missions. We are still in phase one of response. As it comes to the homeowners, we’re working on multiple levels to make sure that these homeowners will be taken care of. Trump has had all his cabinet members in Texas constantly.”

Meanwhile, Houston was still struggling to recover on Sunday, when the city forced the evacuation of thousands of people on the western side of town to accommodate the release of water from a pair of reservoirs that otherwise might sustain damage. The storm stalled over Houston, dumping more than 50 inches (127 cm) on the region in a matter of days. The city cut off power to homes on Sunday morning to encourage evacuations, but conflicting information about who must leave angered some residents.

The area was barricaded and military vehicles were stationed on the periphery to take people out. Some living near the reservoirs were told their homes were in danger of new flooding and would not be allowed to return if they left.

“It’s hard to get the real story. We’re having to make decisions on what we do day by day. Do we stay or go?” said Todd Kellenbenz, who lives in the affected area. 


About 37,000 refugees stayed overnight in 270 shelters in Texas plus another 2,000 in seven Louisiana shelters, the highest number reported so far by the American Red Cross. Some 84,700 homes and businesses were without power on Sunday, down from a peak of around 300,000, according to the region’s major electric companies.

Still, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city was making progress on several fronts, resuming city services and helping get people into housing and out of emergency shelters.

Trump visited Houston on Saturday to meet evacuees and rescue workers, an opportunity to show an empathetic side after some criticized him for staying clear of the disaster zone during a previous visit on Tuesday. Trump had said he did not want to hamper rescue efforts.

Trump and his wife Melania marked a national day of prayer for hurricane victims on Sunday by attending church services at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House.


two hoots JLee2027 Sun, 09/03/2017 - 16:17 Permalink

Well governor, you need to raise taxes in Texas to pay for it.    You want state rights then demonstrate it, otherwise you are no different than the welfare crowd and when you go there you can expected to be told what to do.   OBTW, how politically correct and you pulled that greedy/needy number right out of your ass.  Why did you let them build there in the first place?Now imagine Texas being it's own country, who would you cry to then?     

In reply to by JLee2027

papa song two hoots Sun, 09/03/2017 - 16:24 Permalink

"Now imagine Texas being it's own country, who would you cry to then?"Texas routinely ranks #2 in taxes collected by the IRS.  Last year the amount transferred from Texas to DC was nearly 280 billion dollars.They should just start witholding their contributions to Uncle Sugar, and recall their representatives and senators from the swamp.  They'd be far, far better off than they are under the current system.

In reply to by two hoots

two hoots papa song Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:27 Permalink

Texas can no longer complain that it gives more than it gets from federal government.'One frequently cited validation for that go-it-alone attitude is that Texans get a bad deal by paying more in federal taxes than they receive in federal spending. For decades, that was true: Texas received 90 cents or less for every dollar its residents and businesses sent to Washington.But that’s no longer the case. Thanks to demographic shifts, a surge in military spending and other factors, Texas has crossed the break-even line. In six of the past eight years, including the entire tenure of President Barack Obama, Texans got more out of the federal Treasury than they put in.'From the Dallas Morning News:  https://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-politics/2012/08/05/texas-can-no-… 

In reply to by papa song

847328_3527 two hoots Sun, 09/03/2017 - 18:37 Permalink

If we can bail out Hank Paulson, AIG, Godlman Sachs, Mozillo, etc, I can surely find it in my heart to bail out those poor folks in texas and western la.Not one banker went to jail for the widespread fraud and destruction they did to our nation and Bush and Soweeto Obozo still handed them Trillions.wtf!Give these people suffering in Texas all they need to eat, shelter, and rebuild.And tell this CNN bitch to change her tone. I don't like it.

In reply to by two hoots

Déjà view 847328_3527 Sun, 09/03/2017 - 23:25 Permalink

Abbott AL'LIE$'...Sheldon Adelson et al and Israel will assist...

Gov. Greg Abbott flew to Israel Saturday on a plane belonging to Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner and megadonor active in Republican national politics.

A spokesman for the governor confirmed that Abbott flew on Adelson’s 737 after Jewish Insider and The Dallas Morning News first reported it Monday.
Adelson is a top spender in Republican politics known for his fierce support of Israel and his friendship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbott met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss the Texas-Israeli relationship and reiterate Abbott’s opposition to Iran — a nation whose relationship with Israel has long been tense.

It was discussed with the prime minister, as well as other leaders in Israel,” Abbott said. “… I made very clear to the prime minister that he has no greater ally on the globe than Texas.”

In reply to by 847328_3527

The Cooler King (not verified) ET (not verified) Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:15 Permalink

Here's a chance for all you freshly minted BITCOIN gazillioniares to show how much you care and start a HELP fund. https://www.meetup.com/houstonbitcoin/messages/boards/ There hasn't been a 'peep' on those message boards since May 8, 2017, so, it doesn't look like there is much interest (even with the excitement on the parabolic price movements ~ don't you people have internet down there?). Maybe everyone has just already moved to their private islands.

In reply to by ET (not verified)

Escrava Isaura The Cooler King (not verified) Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:19 Permalink

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$180 billion dollars? Very likely that the uninsured losses are going to be higher than that. University of North Texas Professor Bernard Weinstein estimated that Katrina cost $250 billion. That includes both the damage and its economic impact. He estimated uninsured losses at $215 billion, and insured losses at $35 billion. That's because the worst flooding occurred in New Orleans' 9th Ward. It was a low-income are that was mostly uninsured. https://www.thebalance.com/hurricane-katrina-facts-damage-and-economic-effects-3306023  

In reply to by The Cooler King (not verified)

junction ET (not verified) Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:27 Permalink

With incompetents like Abbott, Trump and that total blithering idiot, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, handling matters, it will take more than prayers to improve things.  These politicians are incapable of doing anything but talking, talking and more talking.  Everything they say is lies.  They all are just like the police and mayor in Salt Lake City who said nothing about that nurse's illegal arrest until she lawyered up.  Now, over a month later, these low lives do something about that psycopathic cop's actions trying to draw blood from the truck driver victim of an accident, a guy who died from his injuries.  Just wait and you will find out that Houston was supposed to have a plan for storm water drainage but the government chose to spend money on other stuff for their friends.  The United States is doomed, degenerates and dope dealers are in charge.

In reply to by ET (not verified)

artichoke junction Sun, 09/03/2017 - 19:34 Permalink

How are Trump and Abbott incompetent?  Much of the city is back to work and recovery is underway.  Even Buffalo Bayou just widened but the flooding was contained after they had to leak some owater from Addicks dam.  This all sounds like competent planning and execution.As for the Mayor who told people to "think twice" before evacuating, that's a different matter.

In reply to by junction

Buck Johnson junction Mon, 09/04/2017 - 12:01 Permalink

You and I both know this is a major cluster fuck that is about to be seen for what it is.  An icompetent and corrupt state and local govt. that will be outed when money doesn't go where it is supposed to go.  Lawsuits going to places where they lied etc. etc. etc..  This is going to be worse than Katrina and Sandy combined and those people that don't have flood insurance and will be "helped" as the governor said won't be.  They will be short changed, obfuscated with paperwork and essentially made not even whole but 25%.  This is a goldmine for groups and people to get rid of areas of the houston that they can make into a flood plan again and also rebuild with this money stuff they didn't do as a state. 

In reply to by junction

GUS100CORRINA ET (not verified) Sun, 09/03/2017 - 16:46 Permalink

Observation: This event is the kind of thing that can happen when you build America's 4th largest city and surrounding areas on marsh land and a swamp. While I know this area got an excessive amount of water, the water had no place to go because the ground was already saturated. Houston area for decades has had problem with flooding. What is amazing is that only 20% of the people have flood insurance. There are many places in America like Houston today.By the way, I saw a web presentation today on IRMA that showed potential impact area being in the VA and Washington D.C. area. The wave height around the eyewall is projected to be 54+ feet!!!!Remember the movie "Day After Tomorrow"? If this storm comes ashore, the devastation may make Harvey look like a SUNNY DAY IN THE PARK.Question for everyone? Assuming you believe in the Flood of Noah, what would have been the hurricane force winds during the storm that wiped out humanity?DRUM ROLL PLEASE ...... Answer: 500 to 600 mile an hour winds (Catagory 9 storm or HYPERCANE). Try surviving in that kind of a storm. Obviously, no one on the earth survived and GOD began again with Noah and his family.

In reply to by ET (not verified)

veritas semper… ET (not verified) Sun, 09/03/2017 - 16:32 Permalink

Abso-fucking-lutely! It's not like we can't afford it,is it? I mean ,we have no debt,personal and public,we have a great manufucturing base,neglijable enemployment,no trade deficit or  maybe even surplus on the trade balance( we don't even have 600Bil minus every f..cking year),our dollar is stronger and stronger,our GDP is to the roof,inflation is minuscule,you can't see it,nevermind feel it. What 's a few billion dollars more? Print it ,baby!We're number one! 

In reply to by ET (not verified)

robertocarlos Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:16 Permalink

I care. First gas went up more in Canada than it did in the USA. Second, insurance will go up in Canada because all the insurance companies own parts of the bigger insurers. I meant they share the risks.

azusgm Francis Marx Sun, 09/03/2017 - 21:10 Permalink

The high pressure system coming down from the north across a great portion of the continental US looks like it won't let this area of circulation make it even as far north as Brownsville. It is set to rain along the east coast of Mexico then the remnants should cross the isthmus and into the Pacific. The wind models show that little areas pulling from Irma for a while. When Irma starts to move north (if she does), Irma will start to pull some wind across the Yucatan from NW to SE.At least that is what it looks like in the forecast models over the next week.

In reply to by Francis Marx

Francis Marx Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:25 Permalink

The thing is, they pump up the price of real estate and have no one to blame but themselves when multiple disasters bankrupt everyone.More storms coming. Dont think that another cant strike the same areas.

heavens-door grunk Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:48 Permalink

Mexicans will work 16 hour days for $10 - $15 per hour flat, a few tacos, and a 6pack of Modelo every day until the work is done.  American citizens wont get out of bed for less than $25 per hour for the cheapest worker in the Texas heat, 8 hour shifts with paid hour lunch plus 2 - 15 minute paid breaks per day, 1.5 hourly wage for overtime.  Plus adequate housing, 4-6000 calories/day, and health insurance.  On the plus side either way the whores will show up on their own.

In reply to by grunk

Lost in translation heavens-door Sun, 09/03/2017 - 18:44 Permalink

I'm dead-set against the invasion - and that's what it is, NOT "immigration" - but I'm being fair when I say that your remarks have some truth.

I was quite frankly appalled by the laziness of American 20-somethings when I lived and worked in Goodyear, AZ.

ZHers excluded, Americans today in the aggregate do not possess the work ethic of their grandfathers, or their fathers. Very far from it.

This has to change.

In reply to by heavens-door

To Hell In A H… Sun, 09/03/2017 - 15:42 Permalink

If this happened in the Congo, our adjusters would not even add up their losses to $500 million, such is the arbitrary value we place. $500 billion is a fucking joke and not worth anywhere near that. Fantasy figures.