Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine has raised the estimated cost of damage caused by heavy flooding in parts of north Georgia to $500 million. The new figure, released Saturday, is twice as much as Tuesday’s initial damage estimate of $250 million. Oxendine said the new number is conservative and could still rise. Oxendine said 20,000 homes and other structures suffered major damage, mainly in the area north and west of Atlanta. 

A federal disaster declaration has been issued to provide individual assistance for recovery efforts to residents in 14 Georgia counties including Chattooga, Walker and Catoosa counties in Northwest Georgia.