Hurricane Irene has been on the path of destruction and is heading towards New York City. If it strikes hard in the New York City area it could be a multibillon dollar catastrope:
Apart from the potential loss of life in the most densely populated part of the country, history suggests that the economic damage could run into the tens of billions of dollars, depending on the severity of the storm and how close it comes to the city. Unlikely but theoretically plausible scenarios could have the damage entering the realm of the costliest natural disasters of all time, and perhaps being large enough to have a materially negative effect on the nation’s gross domestic product.
There have been mandatory evacuations from North Carolina to New York, with an estimated 2.5 million people ordered out across East Coast.
Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency here in Massachusetts, where boaters are pulling their boats out of the water and low lying coastal towns are preparing for the worst:
Five hundred guardsmen have already been activated, and another 2,000 will be activated by Saturday morning, Patrick said in a news conference this afternoon detailing the state’s preparations for the storm.
“The whole Commonwealth is as prepared as we can be,” he said. “We will be ready for what comes.”
Patrick and other officials at the news conference urged people to stay off the roads from Saturday evening through the end of the storm; to avoid downed power lines; and to beware of riptides and strong currents at the shore. They also advised coastal residents to monitor the storm closely and heed the advice of local officials who might call for an evacuation.
The airlines have canceled nearly 5000 flights due to Hurricane Irene. Public transportation is to be shut down in NYC.
The problem with Irene is the actual size of the storm which has been deemed “a monster.” The storm is massive with a very wide path and it is filled with lots and lots of water. Many of the areas in the path of Irene have ground that has already been saturated from previous rain storms, creating a problem for trees that will be easily toppled by the winds.
At this point in time Irene has weakened some, but it appears we’re on track here in Massachusetts to still get one hell of a tropical storm.
I echo this sentiment in hoping that Irene turns her back and spares the Eastern Seaboard:
Stay safe readers… And be grateful that unlike a few years ago when we all watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina set her sights on New Orleans, President Obama has cut his vacation short to return to Washington D.C. and he’s been very actively involved in the preparations to deal with this storm.