Irene estimated as one of nation’s costliest storms
Published 11:07 am Thursday, September 1, 2011
WALLINGTON, N.J. — As the flood waters receded, weary residents across the Northeast began pulling soggy furniture and ruined possessions onto their front lawns as they surveyed the damage wrought by Hurricane Irene.
The mess of destroyed furniture on Paul Postma’s front lawn looked like a yard sale gone wrong. Over the weekend, Postma had watched as more than two feet of rain filled the bottom level of his home in Lincoln Park, N.J. On Wednesday, he was using bleach to wipe down the house’s mud-soaked walls.
“None of this has value,” he said. “At least not anymore.”
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Repair estimates indicated that the storm would almost certainly rank among the nation’s costliest natural disasters, despite packing a lighter punch than initially feared. Even as rivers finally stopped rising in Vermont, New Jersey, and Connecticut, many communities and farm areas remained flooded, and officials said complete damage estimates were nowhere in sight.
An estimate released immediately after Irene by the Kinetic Analysis Corp., a Maryland-based consulting firm that uses computer models to estimate storm losses, put the damage at $7.2 billion in eight states and Washington, D.C.
That would eclipse damage from Hurricane Bob, which caused $1 billion in damage in New England in 1991 or the equivalent of about $1.7 billion today, and Hurricane Gloria, which swept through the region in 1985 and left $900 million in damage, the equivalent of $1.9 billion today, according to the Insurance Information Institute.