(New York City during Sandy. Image credit: here.)
Damage estimates from the storm that global warming made far, far worse just keeps piling up. According to reports from IHS Global Insight and the Associated Press, Sandy will likely result in about $20 billion in property damages and another $10-$30 billion dollars in lost business.
At its peak Sandy caused over 8 million people to lose power across the Northeast and Mid-West. The massive storm ruined communities up and down the New Jersey coastline and wrecked whole neighborhoods on Long Island. If total losses reach or exceed $50 billion dollars, then Sandy will be ranked among the top four most costly hurricanes in US history.
Sandy’s climate impact adds to that of the recent droughts, heat waves, fires, the derecho and other extreme weather made far worse by global warming this year. Total damages from climate change related events for 2012 will likely exceed $150 billion dollars. This year was already ranked the most extreme weather year on record by the National Climate Data Center. Now, a top-five hurricane is adding to 2012’s already record extremity.
Here’s an excellent video putting the crisis, its costs, and its potentials for the future in context: