27 Aug 11 – Though Irene has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, Federal officials are warning residents in its path to not underestimate the mammoth storm.
“If you’re in a hurricane, you’re in a hurricane,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a briefing this morning at FEMA headquarters. “We anticipate heavy rain, potential flooding and significant power outages throughout the area of the storm, which means all up and down the Eastern Seaboard.”
Expected to reach Norfolk, Va., by Saturday evening, the National Hurricane Center projects that Irene may weaken slightly but will remain “near hurricane strength” as it approaches New England.
Hurricane Irene caused as much as $1.1 billion in insured losses in the Caribbean, moneycontrol .com reports, just a fraction of losses that could arise from damage on the continental U.S.
A computer model run by catastrophe-insurance provider ICAT of Hurricane Irene’s potential impact puts the estimated damage at $4.7 billion,
The figure includes destruction of homes, cars, public infrastructure and other property, but does not include lost sales from closed restaurants, stores and casinos and canceled flights.
However, the most recent forecasts indicate the storm might not even be a hurricane when it reaches the Big Apple.
Also see: Irene article on usatoday