The extensive damage caused in New York and New Jersey by Superstorm Sandy and preventive measures from future major storms will cost more than $70 billion, according to the latest estimates.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the state will need at least $41.9 billion, including $32.8 billion to repair and restore damaged housing, parks and infrastructure and to cover lost revenue and other expenses in the aftermath of Sandy.
The estimate also includes $9.1 billion to mitigate potential damage from future severe weather events, Cuomo said.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office released a preliminary analysis Friday estimating at least $29.4 billion in damage and overall losses. The preliminary cost estimate includes federal aid New Jersey has received so far.
Sandy caused widespread and extensive damage to the transit system and coastline areas in the two states.
Subway systems in New York City were submerged under several feet of water as a record storm surge was forced inland. Storm surge damaged 62 locomotives and 261 rail cars in storage yards as well as control equipment and repair shops in the New Jersey transit system.
Water levels at New York’s Battery Park crested at almost 13.9 feet above normal high tides, more than 3 feet above the previous record set in 1960.
Cuomo said by some measures, Sandy was worse than Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which tore into the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.
Sandy destroyed 305,000 houses in New York state, a still provisional number that’s likely to grow, compared to the 214,700 destroyed in Louisiana by Katrina and Rita.
Sandy also caused nearly 2.2 million power outages at its peak in the state, compared to 800,000 from Katrina and Rita in Louisiana, and impacted 265,300 businesses compared to 18,700, Cuomo added.
While Sandy may have damaged more homes and businesses, Katrina took a far greater toll on human lives, killing more than 1,800 people directly or indirectly. Sandy, by comparison, is believed to have killed at least 121 people.
The total cost to the region is still not known as estimates of the damage, as well as future repair and prevention costs, continue to come in from states, cities and counties.
Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey on Oct. 29 and greatly impacted the entire region with the large size of the storm.
Tropical storm-force wind gusts of more than 39 mph to nearly 100 mph downed thousands of trees and power lines from Virginia northward to Maine and Ontario, Canada and westward across the Ohio Valley.
At the storm’s peak, more than 8.5 million lost power.
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