NEW YORK: Hurricane Irene is threatening to deliver another blow to the already shaky US economy, with one forecasting firm predicting Friday that it could cause up to $10 billion in damages. Irene is slated to smash into North Carolina on late Saturday and then travel northward along the heavily populated US east coast to score a direct hit on New York City on Sunday, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre. Losses could include damage to flooded buildings, business interruptions and cleanup costs picked by the government, said Chuck Watson, Kinetic Analysis Corp director of research and development. The toll could vary strongly depending on how close the storm comes to New York City, the US financial capital and largest city with nearly 19 million people living in its metropolitan area. “Literally a 20-mile (32-kilometer) difference in where the core of the storm goes could double the damages,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.