East Coast economy braces for hurricane
Irene is already turning into a rare and extraordinary storm that will batter the region all the way to New England.
Updated Friday, 12:30 p.m. ET
The East Coast has begun seeing rains from Hurricane Irene, one of the most extraordinary storms to hit the country in recent history.
The storm's core is expected to hit the North Carolina coast Friday night, and by Sunday morning, it could be within miles of the New York. New York City has already evacuated nursing homes and hospitals in areas likely to be hit with storm surges.
But the region caught a small break Friday morning.
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"This potentially could be extremely destructive, with massive disruptions to society and commerce along its entire track," the NOAA says in a recent warning.
In other words, the economy can expect yet another blow. In fact, one company says the state of Connecticut alone could suffer $1 billion in insured losses and Rhode Island as much as $1.9 billion. But the total economic impact is still unclear. High winds are expected, and residents could also see storm surges, ocean overwash, beach erosion, flooding and extreme tides, the NOAA warns.
Here are some ways the hurricane could damage the U.S. economy:
- Power outages: The electricity infrastructure "will be greatly compromised for millions, if not tens of millions, of Americans," The Weather Channel reports. Those outages could bring the economy nearly to a standstill.
- Flooding: Widespread heavy rain of as much as 10 inches will be common, greatly increasing the potential for inland floods. And the Northeast isn't ready for that kind of flooding; some parts, especially New Jersey, have tree root systems that are vulnerable after recent heavy rains, The Star-Ledger notes. Amtrak has already canceled train service south of Washington this weekend, but it could add more cancellations if necessary.
- High water: The water levels could rise around bays and sounds, to the point where new high water marks could be set. That could cause flooding and other damage to businesses and homes directly on the coast. And wouldn't you know it, the hurricane coincides with the new moon, when tides are already higher than normal.
- Strong winds: People could see tropical storm force winds, especially along and east of I-95, The Washington Post reports. Air travel could be impacted, with flight cancellations likely. Many airlines are now waiving flight-change fees for travelers.
Emergency plans are in effect. A coastal county in North Carolina is evacuating residents, while areas in Maryland and other states are telling residents to prepare for a possible evacuation. "We're telling people, 'Listen, take today and tomorrow to prepare. Don’t wait.'" a New Jersey police sergeant tells the Star-Ledger. "Have a full tank of gas, plenty of food in the house, blankets and clothes in your car. Make sure you’re prepared just in case."
Reuters has a good hurricane updates site here.
It appears now they will blame the economy on the weather…huh? If the greedy politicians, etc. took care of their States and Cities… just maybe they would have the money to repair the damages from Hurricanes, earthquakes etc. Obviously they spent it, or shoved it in their own pockets!
So I just heard this morning that gas will be rising immediately at the pumps due to Hurricane Irene because they may have to turn off a few of the refineries in New Jersey which account for virtually nothing in the scope of things. Isn't it interesting that when Oil fell to $79 a barrel a couple of weeks ago the consumer would not see any savings for at least 4 weeks at the pumps because those were "futures prices/contracts" & it takes time to trickle down but now we are told gas prices are going up immediately with Irene. Shouldn't this take at least 4 weeks to trickle up or are we once again being jerked around by Wall Street & Speculators???
How about Washington or some reporters doing a full scale investigation on this & publish what we already know...we are being screwed!!!
I had a small construction business before I retired. Every time there was a storm of some type and it did damage I saw green along with all the other contractors out there. I don’t believe one bit it can hurt our economy it can only help.
Now the only thing I am wondering is who do we want to take credit for this, the Dem’s or Rep’s?… lol
The hurricaine cannot possible hurt our economy as much as this President and his administration have! Biggest bunch of losers since the Carter administration.
I'm sure it's Bush's fault.....
Good lord. When you wake up and realize that the media is covering for Obama to no end, articles like this are not surprising. Maybe if we weren't 14+ trillion in debt, we wouldn't have to worry so much about what a hurricane could do to our economy.
Republicans and Democrats both share the blame for the state we are in. I'm done listening to politicians who say "this isn't my fault". I'M SO SICK OF THE EXCUSES! If you don't have a CONSTITUTIONAL solution to help American's out, get the hell out of the way. This president is an empty suit who is banking on people being too stupid to see the damage he is causing.
God bless all in the way of this storm. Best wishes, and stay safe.
The Size 18 foot
A hurricane! Just the excuse they were looking for to raise gas prices again....here we go again!
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Do it once a year. This allows the best-performing asset classes to take off and run.
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