Widespread power outages and subway shutdowns may wind up making Superstorm Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, according to the forecasting firm Eqecat. That would rank it right behind Hurricane Katrina.
Eqecat said Thursday that the damage from the storm will likely be far worse than it previously predicted, largely a result of Sandy hitting the most densely populated area in the country.
The firm doubled its previous estimate for the total bill and now says Sandy may have caused between $30 billion and $50 billion in economic losses, including property damage, lost business and extra living expenses. The cost to insurance companies could run as low as $10 billion and as
high as $20 billion.
The new numbers square with an earlier estimate from IHS Global Insight. IHS said Sandy could cause about $20 billion in property damages and between $10 billion and $30 billion in lost business.
The firm pointed to two reaso
ns that Sandy will leave a bigger bill than it first thought. Power outages are more widespread than in a typical Category 1 storm, Eqecat said. Sandy knocked out electricity for more homes and businesses than any other storm in history, according to the Department of Energy.
The lack of subway service in New York City and blocked roadways will also push the total cost higher, Eqecat said.