Aug. 28, 2011— -- It's time to clean up Irene. The hurricane's destructive path through 10 East Coast states left an estimated $7 billion to $13 billion of damage in its wake -- without even accounting for economic losses.
Downed trees and other wind damage could total about $5 billion in personal claims, while flood damage could total about $2 billion in claims, according to a statement released by the Consumer Federation of America. The figure is significantly lower than that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the statement noted.
"Because so many consumers experienced claims problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we urge homeowners dealing with losses caused by Hurricane Irene to be vigilant with their insurance companies to ensure that that they receive a full and fair settlement," the statement said.
On the high end of estimates, University of Maryland professor Peter Morici said $20 billion of damage and economic losses could be felt throughout the weeks after the storm, and Maryland-based Kinetic Analysis Corporation estimated the damage at $13 billion.
"The East Coast has a lot in common with New Orleans," Morici said. "There are a lot of low-lying areas, the flood levels are almost breaking records."
Morici noted that the economic losses from closed businesses and transportation throughout the region could increase that number by another $20 billion over the next week to 10 days.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was to early for federal damage estimates.
Hurricane Irene Wreaks Havoc on Transportation and Power
With more than 11,000 flights canceled and train service around the region suspended indefinitely, travelers will begin the waiting game to get out of town.
Airports in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine are all expected to reopen Monday, while officials at Philadelphia airport said some flights might begin to arrive late today, though departures will still be suspended.
Officials at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, as well as at some airports in North and South Carolina, said flights would resume with some delays on Sunday.
More than 3 million people are without power in the wake of the storm, with North Carolina and Virginia reporting the largest outages. Virginia's Department of Emergency Management told customers via Twitter that if their power was out, it would likely remain out for one to two weeks.
Those looking to board trains instead of planes to get back to evacuated areas or to get to work Monday can expect continued delays.
In Philadelphia, subways, busses, and trolleys began to reopen on Sunday, though regional rail service remained suspended.
Mass transit in and around New York City, including MTA, PATH, and New Jersey Transit all remained closed today, and were expected to remain at least partially closed until midday Monday.
While many roads remain closed due to flooding throughout all 10 states, major bridges and tunnels are open.