26 August 2011

Hurricane Irene Damage Analogues?

[UPDATE August 27: This AP news story calls the ICAT Damage Estimator a "model" that "predicts" $4.7 billion in damage. Wrong (The $4.7B is the average of the  27 analogues as you can see in the image above).  The ICAT site is simply a tool to look at historical analogues and offers no predictions of the future.  The WSJ does a much better job discussing the issue.]

I've had a bunch of calls today, presumably following up from Nate Silver's post at the NYT, on potential damage from Irene.

I have used the ICAT Damage Estimator to look at all storms that fall within the spread of the various model projections (displayed above, as of 9AM MT) and here are the top  6 storms that come up.
New England Sep 21,1938 8 46,160,000,000 306,000,000 NY 2 100
Carol Aug 31,1954 16 19,240,000,000 460,000,000 NY 2 100
Agnes Jun 22,1972 18 18,880,000,000 2,000,000,000 NY TS 65
Storm 7 in 1944 Sep 14,1944 31 10,670,000,000 90,000,000 NY 1 85
Storm 7 in 1944 Sep 14,1944 36 8,320,000,000 10,000,000 NC 2 105
Storm 8 in 1933 Aug 23,1933 52 4,880,000,000 27,000,000 NC 1 80

None of the storms is really a good analogue. We should expect to see damage along the entire eastern seaboard, as well as a considerable amount of damage from inland flooding (not included in these numbers).

It wouldn't be anything more than a guess to speculate at this point on Irene's total impact, but it does seem safe to say that it's effects will be widespread and the damage total considerable.


  1. What about Floyd (1999)? Too close to Wilmington to be analogous?

  2. Roger - Maybe it is my display, but some text seems to be missing or may be covered by the data table. As someone living near the path of Irene, I am very concerned with the potential damage particularly along the NJ shore which hasn't seen something of this magnitude in quite some time and doesn't have the building codes relative to hurricane protection that states such as FL and NC have.