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AccuWeather predicts the total damage from Barry will be $8 to $10 billion

By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
July 14, 2019, 5:43:29 AM EDT

Woman preps for Barry

Diana Moreno carries a sandbag to her vehicle Friday, July 12, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La., ahead of Tropical Storm Barry. The National Weather Service in New Orleans says water is already starting to cover some low lying roads in coastal Louisiana as Barry approaches the state from the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AccuWeather estimates the total damage and economic loss caused by Barry will be $8 to $10 billion, based on an analysis of damages expected from flooding caused by very heavy rainfall over several states and storm surge. The estimate includes damage to homes and businesses, as well as their contents and cars, as well as job and wage losses, farm and crop losses, contamination of drinking water wells, infrastructure damage, auxiliary business losses and the long-term impact from flooding, in addition to the lingering health effects resulting from flooding and the disease caused by standing water.

AccuWeather’s damage estimate incorporates independent methods to evaluate all direct and indirect impacts of the storm based on a variety of sources, statistics and unique techniques to estimate damage developed over a decade.

“The rain will be the overwhelming cause of damage and discomfort and threats to life and property,” said AccuWeather founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers. "There will be 10 to 18 inches of rain over a large area into Monday, with the greatest threat for flooding rainfall expected to be in Louisiana, western Mississippi and eastern Arkansas where the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ for this storm is 24 inches."

Risk 7.14 AM

“It’s going to be a slow-moving storm and will still dump very heavy rains to the north over northeast Arkansas, northwest Mississippi, western Tennessee, southeastern Missouri and western Kentucky where there will be maybe 4 to 8 inches of rain and flooding Monday through Wednesday,” Myers said.

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AccuWeather designated Barry as an AccuWeather RI level 2 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes.

Barry made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. In comparison to the Saffir-Simpson scale, which has been used by meteorologists for decades and classifies storms by wind speed only, the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes is based on a broad range of important factors. The scale covers not only wind speed, but flooding rain, storm surge and economic damage and loss.

“This hurricane is a great example of the value of the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes that we invented,” Myers said. “The scale is helpful to people to appreciate the risk of this storm, because based on the winds, it would be easy for people to dismiss it and say this is not a serious threat, that it is nothing like Katrina with winds well over 100 miles an hour. And from the standpoint of the wind, they’re right. There’s much more to hurricanes and tropical storms than the wind obviously. The rain is the main source of damage generally, with the storm surge second.

“With Barry, the bulk of the damage will be caused by excessive rains over a large area coming on top of flooding already in many places, of high water in the streams, creeks and rivers and also the fact that the ground is very saturated and the rain will run off,” Myers said.

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