After the rain: Irene's lessons to the East Coast

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Associated Press

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 27 at 6:01 PM

Hard lessons have been learned in the year since Hurricane Irene and its remnants killed dozens of people along the Eastern Seaboard.

Hurricane Irene and its remnants raked the Caribbean, the eastern U.S. and Canada for more than a week a year ago. Though it never hit the U.S. as anything stronger than a minimal hurricane, it killed at least 67 people in all and ranks as the costliest Category 1 storm on record since at least 1980. It caused an estimated $15.8 billion in total damage.

The center of Irene made its first U.S. landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Cape Lookout on the Outer Banks, a series of barrier islands. The storm cut a breach through Hatteras Island, resulting in the construction of a temporary bridge. Seven people died in the Tar Heel state and the storm caused at least $1.2 billion in damage.

At the height of the storm, 660,000 customers were without power.

Five people in Virginia lost their lives as Irene passed through the state. The storm's damage was estimated at $182 million.

As Irene roared north along a densely-populated corridor loaded with high-rises, suburban sprawl and pricey beach homes, fears of storm surges and heavy winds lead to evacuations of low-lying coastal areas and the shuttering of one of the world's largest subway systems.

The storm's effects were most severe farther inland, closer to the area around Richmond. Strong winds knocked down trees and caused the second-largest power outage in state history. Thousands of homes were damaged. More than 200 roads had to be closed.

A year later, people are doing things like buying home generators, and legislators have tightened utility regulations in several states where power was lost for days.

AP-WF-08-25-12 0408GMT

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