$500 Million to $5 Billion: What’s Behind The Wide Ranging Tornado Cost Estimates?

Jun 6, 2013

A man on top of a house surveying tornado damage in Moore, Okla..
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Following a major disaster like the Moore tornado on May 20th, news reporters want answers, and they don’t want to wait.

How many people were killed? How many injured? How much damage did the storm cause, and how much will it cost? Answers to the first three questions may not come immediately, but within a few days, they usually can be addressed fairly accurately.

But when it comes to figuring the cost of the storm, the state insurance department has provided estimates ranging from $500 million to $5 billion.

StateImpact has been looking into how exactly these numbers are calculated, and why they’re so …inexact.