IRENE: A Top Ten Worst Storm
Analysts say Hurricane Irene will enter the books as one of the ten most costly storms to ever strike the United States. Dozens of people have died and flood waters continue to rise in some portions of New England. Repairs to damaged roads, bridges, and train tracks will likely take many months to complete and the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have demanded immediate financial assistance from the federal government.
Industry estimates put the cost of the storm at $7 billion to $10 billion, largely because the hurricane pummeled an unusually wide area of the East Coast. Beyond deadly flooding that caused havoc in upstate New York and Vermont, the hurricane flooded cotton and tobacco crops in North Carolina, temporarily halted shellfish harvesting in Chesapeake Bay, sapped power and kept commuters from their jobs in the New York metropolitan area and pushed tourists off Atlantic beaches in the peak of summer. While insurers have typically covered about half of the total losses in past storms, they might end up covering less than 40 percent of the costs associated with Hurricane Irene, according to an analysis by the Kinetic Analysis Corporation. That is partly because so much damage was caused by flooding, and it is unclear how many damaged homes have flood insurance, and partly because deductibles have risen steeply in coastal areas in recent years, requiring some homeowners to cover $4,000 worth of damages or more before insurers pick up the loss.Buzzfeed has posted many photos of the damage in Vermont.