DETROIT (Aug. 16, 2016) — As rivers across much of southern Louisiana slowly recede from record high levels, it remains unclear how many vehicles have been damaged or destroyed because of flooding.
Severe storms and flooding began on Aug. 11, dumping more than two feet of rain in three days in some places.
Christopher Basso, a spokesman for Carfax Inc., said that after looking at images of impacted areas, the number of damaged or destroyed cars could be significant.
“As floodwaters recede and cleanup starts, we'll have a better idea,” Mr. Basso said, noting that rain is still in the area.
Typically, he added, half of the vehicles damaged in flooding return to market.
Getting vehicles properly branded and processed for individuals and dealerships is one of Carfax's biggest concerns in a time like this, Mr. Basso said.
“Anytime there's a significant flood event, we're making sure we're working closely with the state government, organizations and insurance companies that are involved,” he added.
State Farm reported 3,220 vehicle claims because of the flooding, a spokesman said on Monday (Aug. 15) evening, though that number is expected to rise as some areas are still inaccessible.
The Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas are among the hardest hit.
“We expect that the number [of damaged and/or destroyed vehicles] will be moderate,” wrote Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, in an email. “Regardless, after events like this we find examples where people are attempting to resell damaged vehicles as perfectly fine.”
Emergency crews have rescued more than 20,000 people. At least seven people have died as a result of the flooding.
Rivers in Louisiana crested at record levels in multiple places, Reuters reported. The Amite River reached 46.2 feet in Denham Springs, five feet higher than a 1983 record.
On Sunday, Aug. 14, President Barack Obama declared a disaster in Louisiana.