Hurricane Irene, 2011’s first hurricane, has left a path of disaster in it’s tracks. Regarding its affect on the USA, Irene passed along the coasts of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Vermont has seen the worst flooding in centuries. Early estimates of total damaged incurred by Irene are over $10 Billion already. Compared to the damages exacted by Hurricane Katrina, $105.8-billion, this $10 Billion is low.
As of today, there are still 3 million people on the Eastern US seaboard that are without power and thousands of people are either homeless and/or stranded by flood waters. US National Guard and firefighters have rescued hundreds of people from record flooding in New Jersey and Vermont and are now planning to airlift food and water to inland towns cut off by Hurricane Irene.
Unfortunately, FEMA’s funding has hit a low. Ten storms in the US that have required FEMA funds this year alone have caused billions in damage. FEMA’s fund is now below $1 Billion. FEMA is stating that some projects are being put on hold and no new projects will be approved until FEMA assess the needs of Hurricane Irene survivors. This year has been one of the most extreme for weather in U.S. history, with $35 billion in losses so far from floods, tornadoes and heat waves.
Hurricane Irene has killed at least 40 people and caused substantial property damage from North Carolina to Vermont over the weekend.
Currently, eyes are on Tropical Storm Katia which could be a hurricane as early as Wednesday, August 31.