Characterizing the 2019 Midwest Flood: A Hydrologic and Socioeconomic Perspective

Lily L. Kraft, Gabriele Villarini, Jeffrey Czajkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the spring of 2019, severe flooding across the U.S. Midwest caused widespread damage to communities in the Missouri and Mississippi River basins. While it is known that flood magnitude and economic damage are often related, little work exists to examine these factors simultaneously. In this study, we analyze both the hydrologic and socioeconomic characteristics of the 2019 Midwest flood to gain a comprehensive understanding of impacts to individuals, households, and communities. We examine flood magnitude, duration, and probability of occurrence in tandem with claim and grant applications from federal disaster recovery programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Individual and Households Program (IHP). Overall, we find that many areas, particularly in Nebraska and Iowa, expe-rienced moderate or major flooding due to historic discharge magnitudes. In these states, NFIP claims totaled more than $31 million and IHP applications exceeded $42 million in reported damages. In most cases, counties that reported a high density of insurance claims or grant applications overlapped with regions with significant flooding. We also identify the economic advantages to NFIP policyholders for flood recovery in terms of aid eligibility and financial aid amounts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-617
Number of pages15
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Flood events
  • Insurance
  • Vulnerability


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