More than 40,000 structures were affected by the recent string of tornadoes across the Southeast U.S., causing damage that will cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars to repair. In a new report, CoreLogic identified the unique challenges added by COVID-19 to the recovery efforts.
In Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, approximately 23,448 structures were potentially damaged with a total reconstruction value of nearly $2.95 billion.
As CoreLogic notes, experts are concerned that nonessential business shutdowns will drastically hinder the ability of these towns to recover through reconstruction.
Fortunately, CoreLogic states, though much construction has been halted due to the pandemic, aggregate materials should still be available for builders. With softening demand for construction materials, manufacturers have ample supplies available for distribution, though there may be regional disparities regarding access to these resources.
If reconstruction is deemed an “essential business,” the construction labor supply should be adequate, though social distancing measures will likely slow down reconstruction efforts while adding to costs. Construction monitoring in the form of permits, approvals and inspections will also be necessarily delayed.
"Displaced residents of damaged towns will experience significant ramifications of quarantine," says CoreLogic.
After a home is damaged by a tornado, homeowners are confronted with reconstruction costs followed by additional living expenses. As a result of hotel, restaurant and retail closures, these residents will have limited last-minute housing and sustenance options. With fewer hotel accommodations, homeowners will likely experience higher housing and commuting costs. Restaurant closures will add to the struggle by limiting access to prepared food."
"With humidity, warm air and strong winds in the Southeast, many communities in the region worry that the coming storm season will bring more tornadoes and other severe weather," CoreLogic adds. "This will continue to be a challenge for the region as it simultaneously works to prevent the spread of COVID-19."