Characterizing the 2019 Midwest Flood: A Hydrologic and Socioeconomic Perspective

Lily L. Kraft aIowa Institute of Hydraulic Research—Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

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Gabriele Villarini aIowa Institute of Hydraulic Research—Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

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Jeffrey Czajkowski bCenter for Insurance Policy and Research, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Missouri

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Abstract

During the spring of 2019, severe flooding across the U.S. Midwest caused widespread damage to communities in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins. While it is known that flood magnitude and economic damage are often related, little work exists to examine these factors simultaneously. In this study, we analyze both the hydrologic and socioeconomic characteristics of the 2019 Midwest flood to gain a comprehensive understanding of impacts to individuals, households, and communities. We examine flood magnitude, duration, and probability of occurrence in tandem with claim and grant applications from federal disaster recovery programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Individual and Households Program (IHP). Overall, we find that many areas, particularly in Nebraska and Iowa, experienced moderate or major flooding due to historic discharge magnitudes. In these states, NFIP claims totaled more than $31 million and IHP applications exceeded $42 million in reported damages. In most cases, counties that reported a high density of insurance claims or grant applications overlapped with regions with significant flooding. We also identify the economic advantages to NFIP policyholders for flood recovery in terms of aid eligibility and financial aid amounts.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Lily L. Kraft, lily-kraft@uiowa.edu

Abstract

During the spring of 2019, severe flooding across the U.S. Midwest caused widespread damage to communities in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins. While it is known that flood magnitude and economic damage are often related, little work exists to examine these factors simultaneously. In this study, we analyze both the hydrologic and socioeconomic characteristics of the 2019 Midwest flood to gain a comprehensive understanding of impacts to individuals, households, and communities. We examine flood magnitude, duration, and probability of occurrence in tandem with claim and grant applications from federal disaster recovery programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Individual and Households Program (IHP). Overall, we find that many areas, particularly in Nebraska and Iowa, experienced moderate or major flooding due to historic discharge magnitudes. In these states, NFIP claims totaled more than $31 million and IHP applications exceeded $42 million in reported damages. In most cases, counties that reported a high density of insurance claims or grant applications overlapped with regions with significant flooding. We also identify the economic advantages to NFIP policyholders for flood recovery in terms of aid eligibility and financial aid amounts.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Lily L. Kraft, lily-kraft@uiowa.edu

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