Irene damage could be many billions

2011-08-28 21:17
New York - Hurricane Irene is expected to inflict tens of billions of dollars in damage before it concludes a three-day sweep that has left a trail of havoc from Atlantic beach resorts to Manhattan high rises, officials and others said on Sunday.

Assessments were just starting to come in, but as the massive storm moved into New England it was already clear that it had caused widespread flooding and structural damage across a vast swath of the US eastern seaboard.

"I've got to imagine the damage estimates will be in the billions of dollars if not the tens of billions of dollars," said Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, whose famed "Jersey shore" was shut down as hundreds of thousands of people fled the state's long, vulnerable coastline.

Irene weakened to tropical storm status on Sunday as it crashed into New York City, the National Hurricane Centre said, but the still powerful storm was flooding parts of lower Manhattan.

Experts said the financial toll would be much higher if, as transpired, there was a direct hit on New York, the US financial capital and largest city with nearly 19 million people living in its metropolitan area.

Economist Peter Morici put the immediate casualty losses from the storm at $40bn, including the loss of two days of economic activity.

But Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland, said the impact would diminish significantly over the longer term as reconstruction spending kicks in, injecting fresh spending in recession-weakened regional economies.

"Rebuilding after Irene, especially in an economy with high unemployment and underused resources in the construction and building materials industries, will unleash at least $20bn in new direct private spending, possibly more as many folks rebuild larger than before, and the capital stock that emerges will prove more economically useful and productive," he said.

Weekend

Another silver lining is that the storm made landfall over a weekend, mitigating the economic impact in coastal cities although dealing a direct hit to the tourist industry at the peak of the summer beach season.

Kinetic Analysis, a company that does computer modelling of predicted storm damage, predicted Friday that Irene would cause $5-10bn in damages, based on the latest available weather data.

Losses could include damage to flooded buildings; business interruptions and clean-up costs picked by the government, said Chuck Watson, the company's director of research and development.

Reporting on Sunday, the company said losses in North and South Carolina, the first states hit as Irene made landfall on Friday, are expected to range between $200m and $400m.

The costliest hurricane in US history was Katrina, which flooded New Orleans in 2005 and is estimated to have caused more than $133bn in losses.

Irene was the 10th major weather-related disaster in the United States this year, making 2011 a record year, according to a study by the National Climactic Data Centre of such events going back to 1980.

Major floods, drought, tornadoes and a blizzard had already inflicted more than $35bn in damage this year, said the study, which was posted on the website of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Read more on:    us  |  hurricane irene
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 20:17 PM
    Road name: MetroRail
    Due to extensive vandalism on the Central Line a limited Bus Service will operate between Nyanga/Chris Hani and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip - EXPECT DELAYS
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 19:58 PM
    Road name: Montague Drive
    ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nintendo Wii Console

Featuring a remarkable wireless controller experience, the Nintendo Wii console...

From R2999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.