Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday damage from Hurricane Harvey would likely reach $150bn to $180bn.
Harvey, which came ashore on August 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years, has killed an estimated 47 people and displaced more than one million after causing wreckage in an area stretching for nearly 500km.
Abbott, who is advocating for US federal government aid to repair his state, said the damage would exceed that of Katrina, the storm that devastated New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, and Sandy, which overwhelmed New York City and the US northeast in 2012.
“Katrina caused, if I recall, more than $120bn but when you look at the number of homes and business affected by this I think this will cost well over $120bn, probably $150bn to $180bn,” Abbott told Fox News.
“This is far larger than Hurricane Sandy.”
The administration of US President Donald Trump has asked congress for an initial $7.85bn for recovery efforts, which Abbott called a “down payment”.
“This is a long road to hoe if we are going to rebuild the fourth-largest city in the United States as well as the entire geographic region,” Abbott said.
The head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) called federal aid a “ray of hope” but said state and local officials also needed to do their part.
“We need elected officials at all levels to sit down and hit the reset button and make sure they have everything they need to increase levels of self-sufficiency,” FEMA Administrator Brook Long told CBS News.
“They can’t depend only on federal emergency management,” Long said, declining to offer a figure for how much money the White House would eventually request from congress.