Economic Impact of Harvey Could Be Felt Nationwide Before It’s Over

The repairs to Houston’s economy from Harvey’s torrential rainfall will be by one guess some-more than $30 billion, a towering sum.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The repairs to Houston’s economy from Harvey’s torrential rainfall will be by one guess some-more than $30 billion, a towering sum.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Bill Gilmer remembers spending a night listening to a winds of Hurricane Ike rip by his suburban Houston area in Sep 2008. He also recalls waking adult a subsequent morning to hear something totally different.

“The initial sound we listened was chainsaws, and we looked out and all my neighbors were out there clearing a streets, clearing their yards, cleaning adult their yards,” says Gilmer, who leads a Institute for Regional Forecasting during a University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business.

Houston residents have survived vast hurricanes before and know how to representation in and assistance any other recover, Gilmer says. But a drenching rainfall that has followed Hurricane Harvey, flooding streets all over a country’s fifth-largest civil area, is out of scale with anything a city has seen before, he says.

Chuck Watson, who studies a mercantile impact of healthy disasters for Enki Holdings, says a cost to a economy from a flooding is expected to be $30 billion. That’s since of a rain.

“If Harvey were usually a hurricane, it would have usually caused $4 or $5 billion value of damage. As a pleasant charge phase, it’s indeed producing 5 times that many damage,” Watson says.

Already Flooded, Houston Braces As 2 Swollen Reservoirs Are Opened

About a third of Houston’s economy is directly tied to a oil and gas industry. But a segment is also home to non-energy companies, both tiny manufacturers and vast companies such as KBR, Waste Management and a food use hulk Sysco.

Many of those companies have close down in Harvey’s wake, as have several hospitals, both vital airports and a Port Of Houston.

“You’ve got a fifth-largest economy in a United States fundamentally sitting during a passed stop for 3 or 4 days,” Gilmer says.

Gilmer says a economy will be means to make adult for mislaid time once a inundate waters recede, though a earthy repairs to a city will be many harder to redeem from.

“In Houston you’re going to have travel signs, trade lights, trade signals, highway damage, culverts, a extensive volume of open infrastructure damage, and of course, there’s no insurance. That usually comes right out of a taxpayers,” Watson says.

It’s not transparent nonetheless how many homes have been broken yet, though right now Watson estimates a cost of correct residential properties will be about $12 billion.

Most of that repairs won’t be lonesome by insurance, since homeowners’ policies typically don’t cover flooding. While coverage is accessible by a sovereign program, many people never worry to get it, says Loretta Worters, orator for a Insurance Information Institute.

Watson also worries about something else.

Some of Houston’s oil refineries are sealed right now for a elementary logistical reason: Streets are flooded and their employees can’t get to them.


The refineries aren’t severely damaged, however — during slightest so far.

But a continued sleet could finish adult flooding some of them, and if that happens there aren’t adequate companies with a kind of specialized believe to correct them.

“Then you’re articulate about gasoline shortages and longer tenure cost hikes, and that’s going to have a sputter outcome by a whole economy,” Watson says.

Investors are meditative about that too. At one indicate Monday, gasoline futures were adult as many as 5 percent.

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