Eqecat’s initial estimate is that the damage from Irene in the state of North Carolina will be between $200 million to $400 million. Past hurricanes had these totals for damages for the Tarheel state(the figures are in constant dollars):

1. Diane (1955) - $17.2 billion
2. Hazel (1954) - $16.5 billion
3. Hugo (1989) - $7 billion to $10 billion
4. Floyd (1999) - $6.7 billion
5. Fran (1996) - $5.8 billion
6. Isabel (2003) - $4 billion

The greatest damage came from Donna (1960) - $29.6 billion.

The Natural Hazards Review published a summary of normalized hurricane damage for the period from 1900-2005 for the entire country.

"The 1970s and 1980s were notable because of the extremely low amounts of damage compared to other decades. The decade 1996–2005 has the second most damage among the past 11 decades, with only the decade 1926–1935 surpassing its costs. Over the 106 years of record, the average annual normalized damage in the continental United States is about $10 billion under both methods. The most damaging single storm is the 1926 Great Miami storm, with $140–157 billion of normalized damage: the most damaging years are 1926 and 2005. Of the total damage, about 85% is accounted for by the intense hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Categories 3, 4, and 5), yet these have comprised only 24% of the U.S. landfalling tropical cyclones."

A psychologist adds:

Reminiscent of behavior I saw with a falling SPX with VIX nearing 50. The online world is all about attracting visitors to sites ("eyeballs"). It's difficult to do that with nuanced headlines and well-balanced stories. So events tend to be magnified by pundits wanting attention, media needing viewers, etc. A linguistic count of extreme words in headlines and lead paragraphs of stories a la Pennebaker would likely produce some insights…


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