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If Harvey's uninsured losses top $150 billion that would hurt the economy, Warren Buffett says

  • If uninsured losses from Hurricane Harvey top $150 billion it would hurt the economy, Warren Buffett says.
  • Buffett adds the government flood program will be a lot further in the hole once Hurricane Harvey is over.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Wednesday that if uninsured losses from Hurricane Harvey top $150 billion it would hurt the economy.

"I don't think it would be a full percentage point for a year or anything like that. But it has a real effect. It destroys wealth. If there's $150 billion, or something, of uninsured losses that's real wealth," the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

The billionaire investor spoke as Harvey bore down on eastern Texas and Louisiana on Wednesday, bringing the catastrophic downpours that paralyzed the nation's fourth largest city.

Moody's Analytics is estimating the economic cost from Harvey for southeast Texas at $51 billion to $75 billion.

Buffett added the government flood program will be a lot further in the hole once Hurricane Harvey is over.

"It's sort of unbelievable," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we had 50,000 losses and most of them will be in total losses."

Buffett, who turned 87 on Wednesday, was in New York City for a private lunch with the winner of an annual auction to benefit Glide, a San Francisco-based homeless charity. The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, paid $2,679,001.

—Reuters contributed to this report.