Storms Cost Calif. Over $100 Million

Deadly storms that pummeled California earlier this month probably cost the state more than $100 million in damage to homes, roads and farms, according to experts still tallying the bill.

Damage estimates for just the state's highways and interstate system come to about $50 million, said CalTrans (search) spokesman David Anderson.

"As more assessments are made we expect that number to climb," he said Thursday.

Twenty-eight people died in California during five days of constant, torrential rain that ended Tuesday. Ten of the victims were in Ventura County's La Conchita (search) area when a mudslide buried part of the coastal community. Thirteen homes were destroyed and 18 others were damaged.

Farmers in the county suffered an estimated $38 million in losses as rain drowned out crops and ripped out irrigation systems, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation (search).

On Wednesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) declared a state of emergency in Ventura County (search), paving the way for financial assistance from the state.

In Los Angeles County, which includes the rapidly growing Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, officials estimated private property damage at roughly $1 million, said Minerva Ariki, a supervisor at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

When damage to more than 100 flooded or obstructed roadways, bridges and other public property in the area is added on, the estimate rises to more than $30 million, she said.

Authorities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties were still assessing damage Thursday and did not have any cost estimates.

Los Angeles, Riverside, Kern, San Diego and Santa Barbara counties have asked Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency, said Greg Renick, a spokesman for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

By Thursday, more than 14,500 home and flood insurance claims had been filed, said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California, a trade group that tracks the insurance industry.

By comparison, 2 million claims were filed by homeowners in Florida after the state was battered by four hurricanes last fall.

The 1994 Northridge earthquake caused $15 billion in insured losses, or losses to property covered by insurance policies, plus $25 billion in noninsured damages to the state's infrastructure, Miller said.

The Southern California wildfires of October 2003, which swept through whole communities, caused about $2 billion in insured losses, she said.