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Hurricane Irene Could Negatively Impact U.S. GDP

Nate Silver has the sobering math:

Time to think about the unthinkable. What if a major hurricane were to pass close to New York City, as several forecasting models now suggest that Hurricane Irene might?

Apart from the inevitable loss of life in the most densely populated part of the country, history suggests that the economic damage could run into the tens of billions of dollars, depending on the severity of the storm and how close it came to the city. Unlikely but theoretically plausible scenarios could have the damage entering the realm of the costliest natural disasters of all time, and perhaps being large enough to have a materially negative effect on the United States’ gross domestic product.

If you’re around New York/New England (as I am), do stay safe this weekend. Hopefully this forecast is making a mountain out of a molehill…