Hurricane Sandy may cause as much as $20 billion in economic damage and losses as the biggest Atlantic storm made landfall, flooding homes and offices, after disrupting millions of fliers and forcing stores to close.
Insured losses may reach $5 billion to $10 billion, or about half of the total, according to estimates today by Eqecat Inc., an Oakland, California-based provider of catastrophic risk models.
Sandy, spanning 900 miles, slammed into southern New Jersey at about 8 p.m. New York time and brought a surge in Manhattan exceeding 13 feet (4 meters). U.S. airlines have grounded about 12,500 flights, stranding travelers, and U.S. stock trading is closed through tomorrow in the first back-to-back shutdowns for weather since 1888.
â€œThis one has got so many facets to it — youâ€™ve got wind, youâ€™ve got rain, youâ€™ve got snow, youâ€™ve got the full moon, youâ€™ve got the storm surge,â€ said Doug Spiron, who is running home-improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. (HD)â€™s emergency response operations involving 350 employees in Atlanta. â€œThen thereâ€™s the impact of the sheer size of the storm. This one takes it to another whole level of preparation.â€
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