City of Cedar Rapids estimates businesses lost at least $133.4 million due to derecho damage

Aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho in Cedar Rapids. — courtesy of Steve Shriver

Cedar Rapids businesses experienced at least $133.4 million in losses due to the Aug. 10 derecho, according to a new estimate.

The estimate is based on information gathered by a questionnaire the city launched in mid-August. The goal of the questionnaire was to get an idea of how businesses were impacted, the city’s economic development specialist David Connolly said during Tuesday’s Cedar Rapids City Council meeting.

A total of 112 businesses have responded to the questionnaire. Connolly said the respondents included a mix of large employers and small businesses and featured a “representative cross-section of the economy.”

“It’s just from the 112 businesses that sent us data about their losses,” Connolly said about the estimate. “It would not include losses for housing. It would not include costs incurred by the public sector. This is our attempt to try to fill that gap as far as what is a documentable minimum scale of business losses resulting from the derecho.”

The biggest losses businesses experienced involved damage to property, lost sales and lost wages. Half of the losses were covered by insurance. More than half of the businesses reported they were closed between one and two weeks.

Overall, the August derecho caused $7.5 billion worth of damage along its path of destruction from Iowa to Indiana, according to estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Washington Post reported that no thunderstorm or tornado has caused “as much economic devastation as the derecho.”

In mid-October, the city’s finance director Casey Drew estimated the city’s costs of derecho damage to be at least $60 million.

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