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HOUSTON-Harris County chief appraiser-administrator, Jim Robinson tells GlobeSt.com that Tropical Storm Allison has caused $979.5 million in damages to more than 1,518 commercial buildings in Houston alone. Harris County’s total damage assessment is still being calculated.

Robinson says the city has deployed about 100 building inspectors to survey commercial buildings for a preliminary damage report that is due today at FEMA offices. Inspectors have worked over the weekend to complete estimates, which could push Robinson’s calculation even higher.

Robinson says the greatest dollar damage has occurred in the CBD and to the Houston Medical Center. The county cannot assess contents for tax-exempt institutions such as hospitals, but those entities that can be reviewed have incurred $130.7 million in damages, specifically for items such inventories, furniture, fixtures and equipment.Harris County is using staff from various divisions including the county commissioners’ office and Harris Country Flood Control division to complete the assessments. FEMA also is expecting the county’s report today.

Mayor Lee Brown says this has been the most expensive tropical storm in Texas history. His office has adjusted its original damage estimate from $1 billion to more than $2 billion, a number more closely aligned to the Harris County Appraisal District calculation.

FEMA estimates that more than 30,000 residential insurance claims will ultimately be filed and could reach payouts of $350 million. To date, 18,000 already have been filed.

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