by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) Aug 29, 2011
Hurricane Irene caused up to $7 billion in damage as it battered the eastern United States over the weekend, with many of the costs due to flooding, research firms estimated on Monday.
The storm, which has now moved into Canada as a post-tropical cyclone, could cost insurers between $1.5 billion and $3 billion to cover claims for damaged homes, vehicles and businesses, according to Eqecat Inc., based in Oakland, California.
Total damage, including uninsured losses, could range from $5 billion to $7 billion, a spokesperson for Eqecat said.
One of Irene's costliest effects was flooding caused by heavy rainfall in New Jersey and in the city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, said Jose Miranda, director of client advocacy at Eqecat.
"Certainly this was a storm where the flooding impacts were much more severe than the wind impacts," Miranda told AFP.
Another disaster-assessment firm, Kinetic Analysis Corp., has predicted that total damages from Irene will range between $6 billion and $10 billion, with its "best estimate" being $7 billion.
Such losses include the cost of flooding damage, interrupted business and government cleanup expenses, according to Kinetic Analysis, which is based in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The damages were less than many had feared before the storm hit, but Irene was still among the worst hurricanes ever to hit the United States, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley, a Wall Street investment bank.
"Irene is likely to rank among the top 10 costliest US hurricanes and within the top 20 when equalizing for inflation," Morgan Stanley said in a research note.
Last week, Kinetic Analysis warned total damages could be as high as $20 billion, but it lowered its estimates as the storm weakened.
Irene was downgraded from a Category One hurricane to a tropical storm before it reached the densely populated New York area.
"The effects that were associated with the hurricane as it moved up the coast became less and less," said Miranda, of Eqecat.
Stock markets surged more than 2.0 percent in mid-afternoon trading on Wall Street, a rally that analysts said was partly caused by relief over Irene's modest impact.
"The damage from Hurricane Irene appears to be less severe than initially feared, minimizing the economic impact on both the US and Northeast economies," said Ryan Sweet at Moody's Analytics.
Still, at least 33 deaths were blamed on the storm, and millions of people were left without power along the East Coast.
Irene caused $200 million to $400 million in insured losses in North and South Carolina, the first US states that were affected, while estimates for other states were still being tallied, said Miranda, of Eqecat.
Earlier, the hurricane caused $300 million to $600 million in the Caribbean, according to Eqecat.
The costliest hurricane in US history was Katrina, which flooded New Orleans in 2005 and is estimated to have caused more than $100 billion in total losses.
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Did hurricane of hype engulf New York?
New York (AFP) Aug 28, 2011
Hurricane Irene may have been a category one storm, but some wondered if hot air from the media and politicians wasn't what really blew off the scale. New York is the biggest US city, media capital, financial powerhouse and one of the most photogenic places on Earth - Hollywood's favorite backdrop for disaster movies. So, given the chance to report on a rare named storm at their doorste ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|