The wrath of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy: Hitting close to home
Hurricane Sandy is estimated to have caused $20 billion in damage and has left more than 50 dead and 8 million people across 16 states without power, according to an Oct. 31 report in the Chicago Tribune.
The transportation and construction industries will have a lot of work in the coming weeks and months as the Northeast looks to cleanup, rebuild and repair the damage from the storm.
My parents, who live in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, have flooded roads, with portions that are washed out. (Pipes were being laid so the road was already torn up, but now a portion is nearly impassable.)
My in-law cousins, aunts, uncles and grandmother from Long Island in New York and the Queensborough area in New York, have also been affected by the flood.
Even my adopted hometown of Chicago has had high winds, and the waves along Lake Shore Drive – which runs along Lake Michigan in Chicago – were remarkable. Waves of 21.7 feet were recorded at a buoy in Lake Michigan 50 miles from Milwaukee, according to the Chicago Tribune. (For the video, “Windy City Waves, go to http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/73102924/News/Windy-City-waves.
Sandy hit a high-population-density area with a lot of expensive homes,” said Beata Caranci, deputy chief economist at TD Bank in an Associated Press (AP) report.
Caranci said in the AP report that the economic damage in the short run could be heaviest for small businesses that lack the money and other resources to withstand lost sales. However, she said in the report that “it will remain to be seen how long disruptions to electricity and infrastructure persist.”
The devastation has been unthinkable. There is nothing positive about the damage or the deaths from the storm. But if we need to find a silver lining, the rebuilding that needs to take place might give a boost to the construction industry, which has been hard hit by the economic downturn and housing bust.
Caranci has expressed similar sentiments.
She noted in the AP report that the storm should give a boost to the construction industry. According to Caranci, many who lost construction jobs were skilled employees with disproportionately high pay, and the loss of those jobs hit the economy hard.
To help with the disaster, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood today announced $13 million in Quick Release Emergency Relief Funds for Hurricane Sandy damage in New York and Rhode Island.
The $13 million represents 100 percent of the state-requested funds – $10 million from New York and $3 million from Rhode Island, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation. These two requests are the first to arrive at the DOT and represent the first installment of federal-aid highway funds to help repair roads, bridges and tunnels in these two states. DOT says it is expecting other states impacted by Hurricane Sandy to apply for additional emergency relief funding in the coming days.