Economist who nailed cost of Katrina thinks the final bill for Harvey could be larger

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A Coast Guard rescue boat carries US Army 82nd Airborne Division soldiers as it searches a flooded street in New Orleanss two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Just two weeks after Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans in 2005, economist Cary Leahey of Decision Economics Inc. sat down and wrote a report to his clients estimating that total damages would total $125 billion, making the storm the nation’s largest natural disaster ever.

A dozen years later, Leahey’s estimate stands the test of time. In fact, the official government estimate of the cost of the storm is $125 billion in nominal terms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.

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