The impact of floods on local businesses.

Severe weather hero image of a flood

The impact of floods on local businesses.

Severe weather hero image of a flood

  • How many businesses permanently shut down due to floods:
    • We identified the number of businesses that stopped transacting entirely during the flood, and didn’t transact again within 90 days after (this wouldn’t capture any business that would have re-opened after 90 days.)
  • How much was revenue impacted during the floods in our analysis:
    • We identified typical seasonal revenue trends nationwide in each industry and each state, and compared the revenue at businesses in our analysis to see if (and by how much) revenue fell above or below the expected seasonal range in the days immediately prior and following the floods we analyzed.

We analyzed major floods in each of the following states: Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Comparing the impact of floods on certain types of local businesses.


Floods have the potential to be one of the more unpredictably destructive weather events out there.

A major flood can displace entire communities for days, weeks, or even months all while causing immeasurable damage to homes and businesses alike.

We’ll start with a combined view of all the floods in our analysis first, then we’ll show how floods in each of the states we analyzed differed to see whether some floods were far more damaging to local businesses than others.

How many businesses permanently closed due to floods?


Any business directly affected by a flood is almost certainly forced to close its doors, at least temporarily, until the flood subsides and any damages to the building are dealt with.

The sad reality is that some businesses are so badly damaged (physically, financially, or both) by major floods that they shut down and never open back up again.

In order to determine how many businesses were permanently closed due to the floods in our analysis, we identified business that stopped transacting and then didn’t process another transaction within 90 days after the event.

Our analysis found that overall, about 6% of local businesses in a county impacted by a major flood, permanently shut down.

Lodging places were the most heavily affected, with about 14% permanently closing. Restaurants were the second most impacted type of business, with nearly 11% closing.

How much was average revenue at local businesses impacted during floods in different states?


As we saw in the section above, floods can cause enough damage to outright kill a local business. In this section, we’ll examine those businesses that were able to remain open and transacting and see how revenue was impacted during each of the floods in our analysis.

Our analysis identified when, after the beginning of an individual flood, average revenue at open businesses deviated from what was otherwise expected.

The table below shows how much revenue was impacted (negatively or positively) on average throughout the affected period.

An important note: these figures represent average revenue at businesses that were able to remain open and transacting.

Impact on revenue
Length of impact

Change in revenue during and immediately after the weather event vs. typical seasonal averages

Number of days revenue was above or below seasonal expectations during and after the weather event

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More details by industry type


Select an industry in the table below to see more details on the impact of different floods on that industry:

Details by industry type
Arts And Entertainment
Auto Services
Bars And Lounges
Food And Beverage Shops
Health And Beauty
Local Services
Lodging Places
Pet Services
Quick Serve Food And Beverage
Restaurants
Retail And Wholesale
Sports And Recreation Places
Details by state
IA
IL
MO
ND
NE
SD

Timeline: how long did it take for local business revenue to return to normal after each flood?


Now, let’s take a closer look at how much revenue was impacted during each flood in our analysis, and how long it took for revenue to get back to “normal.”

Select a small business industry type in the chart below to compare the impact of different extreme weather events.

Select an industry

Arts And Entertainment
Auto Services
Bars And Lounges
Food And Beverage Shops
Health And Beauty
Local Services
Lodging Places
Pet Services
Quick Serve Food And Beverage
Restaurants
Retail And Wholesale
Sports And Recreation Places

Select a state

IA
IL
MO
ND
NE

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