With an estimated 60 million Americans expected to be impacted by hurricane Sandy, economists predict that the storm will cost us $20 billion in damage.
Hurricane Sandy bulged into 12 US states with the same force it dents the country’s GDP. 12 people have already died, two New York nuclear plants and hospitals were shut down, whereas millions are already in the dark as the superstorm took down power lines. As Sandy is set to hit other highly populated areas after New York, the economists’ $20 billion in damage estimate might be accurate after all.
Wall Street shut down for Sandy this week. It’s the first time weather shuts down US stock trading operations since 1888. New York was hit with a record storm surge of 13.88 feet and experts expect 10 million people to be affected by power outages for more than a week. That’s 7.9 million more people than what Hurricane Katrina impacted.
It was Monday when Eqecat, disaster modeling company, announced its estimates that Sandy will cost us $5 billion to $10 billion in insured losses, and another $10 to $20 billion in economic damages. But damages could easily break through the $20 billion mark. Times writes that “the real cost is probably somewhere in the middle”, as some have estimate Sandy damages to even $100 billion.
Charles Watson, research and development director at Kinetic Analysis Corp, told Bloomberg it’s going to be hard to assess Sandy’s damages until the flood recedes. “It kind of reminds me of Katrina, the actual wind damage from Katrina and coastal storm surge damage was easy to pull down” the expert said. “But once you start getting water going over your protective measures and getting into your infrastructure the numbers start to go crazy”.
But it’s not just damage to the infrastructure, which the New York subway could easily make that list. For the duration of Sandy, Wall Street shut down, oil refineries are impacted, nuclear power plants are on alert. Yesterday, some 10,000 flights were canceled, while restaurants, small businesses and stores in the impacted cities are shut down.
And Sandy easily cancels most of the Halloween parties and activities. Adding the costs of what people have already spent of costumes, decorations, food and so on, this year’s Halloween isn’t looking that great.