How Much Hurricane Sandy Will Cost the US

Hurricane Sandy has left damages exceeding $20 billion, according to analysts who say that figure may even be a conservative estimate.  The storm spread 900 miles along the US east coast, damaging homes, offices, and perhaps most concerning, New York City’s subway system.  The intense winds and high waves have left approximately 8 million homes and businesses without power, while airlines grounded over 12,000 flights due to the storm.

Charles Watson of Kinetic Analysis Corporation, a hazard research company based in Maryland, says the cost of the damage mirrors the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  He says the damage from the winds and the waves from Sandy, especially along the shorelines, was relatively easy to assess.  What makes Sandy similar to Katrina, in Watson’s eye, is the flooding that exceeds protective measures.

“But once you start getting water going over your protective measures and getting into your infrastructure the numbers start to go crazy.”

Economists worry that the devastation from Sandy could negatively affect US economic growth for the next few months.  Citizens and homeowners are expected to cut down on spending in the aftermath of the storm, instead putting money towards repairing incurred damages.  An Oakland provider of catastrophic risk assessments, Eqecat Inc, says insured losses from the storm will likely be $5 billion to $10 billion, with much of that money helping homeowners repair the damages Sandy created.