ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hurricane Irene the next billion dollar disaster in 2011?

Updated on August 22, 2011
Hurricane Irene north of Puerto Rico on Monday Aug 22, 2011
Hurricane Irene north of Puerto Rico on Monday Aug 22, 2011 | Source

Waking up this morning, I discovered that Tropical Storm Irene had become Hurricane Irene. On top of that the storm itself has moved north of Puerto Rico missing the island of Hispaniola, which consists of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Missing Hispaniola is great for Haiti, although they will still be impacted, but not so great for the Bahamas and the east coast of the United States. Now that the storm is not predicted to travel over the island of Hispaniola, where tropical systems can be slashed open by the high terrain weakening them, the storm now has time to spin up strength over the warm waters surrounding the Bahamas. This is bad because the warmer the water, the stronger a hurricane can get. As of this afternoon, many of the computer models predict that the path of Irene will run east of Florida, into the Carolinas and up the eastern seaboard, impacting the Interstate 95 region including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York (especially Long Island), Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts (especially Cape Cod and the Islands). This region is a highly dense population, with some areas that haven’t been impacted by a tropical system in close to eight to ten years (Isabel 2003, Floyd 1999). Further south where the storm will hit first, the South Carolina area, specifically Charleston, hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) since category 4 Hurricane Hugo in 1989! To make matters worse the latest computer models have not only changed the path to include a larger area but because of the new path over warmer waters for longer, the strength is predicted to be close to or at category 3 strength by landfall. Category 3 strength is considered a major hurricane and can have sustained winds from 111 mph to 130.

current 5 day forecast map as of Monday afternoon 8/22/11
current 5 day forecast map as of Monday afternoon 8/22/11 | Source

So why do I think this storm has the possibility to be the next billion dollar disaster in the United States this year? Well it is a number of factors, which range over a number of regions, which will all be possibly impacted by this storm. First you have the damages caused to beach areas ahead of and behind the storm; this includes beach erosion, the fleeing of tourist and the added security measures taken to protect the public in the water due to rip currents and increased surf. Then you have the impacts of the storm itself. If it is to make landfall in the Carolina area as a category 3 not only will you have coastal damage but it will extend inland. The area which hasn’t seen a major hurricane in 20 years has since exploded with development. Buildings and infrastructure now sit in the damage zone adding to the cost of the storm. The mere fact that this storm could be as strong as a category 3, suggests heavy storm surge damage, inland flooding, and wind damage. This scenario can be very dangerous for the southeast coast, even to lives!

As the Irene moves inland up the I-95 corridor or up along the coast into New England, it may weaken but the damage will continue. Due to the recent circumstance impacting Philadelphia to Boston, Irene, even in a weaken state can do considerable damage. This is because of the extreme rains that have fallen over the New England cities. Many cities have surpassed their wettest month on record, or have come close to it. For example Central Park in New York City is closing in on a foot of rain already this month, according to This is over twice the average for the month and majority of it has fallen in the past 10 days! Philadelphia may have already broken their all time rainiest month record just last night, as of Saturday the city was a mere quarter of inch away from the record. This super soggy ground throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will not support additional tropical moisture but also will contribute to bringing down the wind threshold for falling trees. The soggy ground and the additional growth on vegetation from that rain has created a perfect scenario for tree fallings and power outages with even minimum tropical storm force winds, never mind hurricane force winds! Add together the flooding and the tree damage, that has its own ripple effects (power outages, damaged buildings, and damaged cars) over such a populated area and you may have another billion dollar disaster!

As with all weather predictions time will only tell! However awareness can go a long way in preparedness (check out my article on The Best Hurricane Information Sites to stay informed). What is known is that the ingredients are right for another billion dollar disaster and if that occurs, it will be the most billion dollar disasters in one year ever! The most important aspect to remember is Hurricane Irene may have an impact on millions of lives and when it comes down to it people need to be aware and prepared!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 

      7 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks for the info. Hope that this will miss us here in Virginia!

    • BWD316 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Dooling 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks handymanbill!

    • handymanbill profile image


      7 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Great Article. Good job of making people aware Thanks.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)