Hurricane Could Cost NYC Billions

Though he admits that the chances of Hurricane Irene hitting New York City dead-on are unlikely, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver has predicted a worst-case-estimate of damages if the storm passed through the Big Apple. Following a complicated data model that lists the financial effects of previous hurricanes, Silver says a Category 2 hurricane could cause up to $35 billion in damages, which is the equivalent of approximately half of the city's annual budget, if it hits Manhattan. It would likely flood the subway system as well as neighborhoods like the East Village, the Financial District, and TriBeCa, as well as parts of Brooklyn and most of the Rockaways. If the storm passed through Long Island, where the National Weather Service has issued hurricane warnings, Silver's model says it would still cause roughly $10 billion in damages. Since Irene is large and moving at a snail's pace, some forecasters have said it is more likely to hit at high tide, which would increase the storm's severity.