Private flood damage estimate climbs to $1.9 billion

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 12:00pm

Private property damages from Nashville’s catastrophic flood two weeks ago will cost $1.9 billion, according to Rick Bernhardt, executive director of the Metro Planning Department.

Metro’s estimate comes after identifying more than 11,100 parcels throughout Davidson County that sustained property damages from Nashville’s historic flood. Approximately 16,000 individual dwellings are believed to have experienced damages.

“Those numbers are continuing to be refined,” Bernhardt said at a news conference this morning.

More than 530 damaged structures are within Nashville’s floodway, a designated area in close proximity to rivers and creeks that experiences regular flooding. Another 2,500 damaged structures are outside that floodway, but within the 100-year flood plain.

“So, there are roughly about 3,000 structures that are within the 100-year flood plain,” Bernhardt said.

Meanwhile, an additional 650 structures located between the city’s 500-year flood plain and the 100-year flood plain were damaged.

Mayor Karl Dean said the city’s floodway and flood plain maps were last updated in 2001. As part of the recovery process, he said he expects Metro to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to update those maps.

Metro officials from the city’s water services, codes and planning departments are currently working on an “aggressive home buyout” program. Dean said the city and FEMA would purchase houses within areas vulnerable to future flooding.

“Our goal is to make sure people are in homes that are safe and that they’re given the best opportunity to rebuild,” Dean said, “whether that’s at their current location or somewhere else.”