Florence damage estimate in NC nearing $17B

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— Hurricane Florence caused an estimated $16.7 billion in damage in North Carolina, up from initial estimates of $13 billion, state officials said Wednesday.

The original figure was based on projections from aerial surveys of flood damage, officials said, while the updated figure is based on actual inspections on the ground.

Damage to business, housing and agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of the total, according to a state report.

More than 3,800 business sustained water damage from the storm, and more than 23,000 incurred wind damage, officials said. When the damage is combined with the days of lost operations and sales, Florence caused close to $5.7 billion in business damage.

Meanwhile, about 1.2 million households were affected by the hurricane, from damage to homes, vehicles and personal property. When combined with the temporary housing and food assistance these families received following the storm, officials said the damage to this sector of the economy topped $5.3 billion.

North Carolina’s agricultural sector sustained about $2.4 billion in damage, officials said, with lost crops and livestock accounting for almost all of that total.

State officials said private insurance will likely cover $4.6 billion of the damage, and federal aid will take care of another $2.5 billion. The General Assembly has already appropriated $800 million for hurricane recovery, but officials said that still leaves an $8.8 billion gap that will need to be met by a combination of federal, state and private aid.

Florence’s damage is more than Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Floyd combined, officials said. Matthew caused about $4.8 billion in damage two years ago, and Floyd’s damage in 1999, when adjusted for inflation, was between $7 billion and $9.4 billion.