6 Economic Threats After Hurricane Ian Makes Landfall

A tropical cyclone as powerful as Hurricane Ian has the potential to cause lasting damage to homes, crops, coastlines and industries long after landfall.

The initial wind and water attack and lingering flooding posed a significant risk to the lives of those not evacuated. Category 4 threats like Ian’s can disrupt power grids, level homes and render many roads impassable, isolating people when they need help most. Economic ripples extend far beyond the storm’s path.

In Ian’s case, many of these effects would be amplified as it hits the heartland of Florida, the third most populous state in the United States. Storm hits 150 mph (241 km/h) login Just after 3 p.m. local time Wednesday, near Cayo Costa — tied with the fifth-strongest hurricane to hit the continental United States. As the U.S. and the state begin to turn to storm response and then recover, here are some threats to monitor.

water wall

Hurricanes push water in front of them as they move over the ocean. This is called “storm surge,” which could lead to severe coastal damage. The low-lying and shallow continental shelf of parts of western Florida makes it particularly vulnerable. Ian’s projected 12-foot (4-meter) to 18-foot storm surge could send water to very far inland.

The waves and high winds brought by Ian will be devastating to coastal towns. But the heavy rains it lashes in Florida and Georgia, South Carolina and beyond will spread misery and damage.Typical case: Walter disney The world, in the Orlando area of ​​central Florida, issued a shelter-in-place order Although it was about 140 miles from where the storm made landfall, for hotel guests.

Central Florida could get more than 2 feet of rain. The National Weather Service has warned that record-breaking flooding is possible in rivers across the state. Over the next seven days, floodwaters could descend from Florida to southern New Jersey and throughout the Appalachian Mountains, according to the U.S. Weather Forecast Center.

The Sunshine State could be dark for a few days

Category 4 storms caused so much damage to power grids — like broken power poles — that the National Hurricane Center Say Power outages can last for weeks or even months. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest electric utility, tells customers to prepare for “widespread power outage‘ from Ian and warned they could stay for a few days. This New Era Energy After the state was hit by a string of hurricanes more than a decade ago, utilities spent billions to strengthen their systems, but now face the prospect of having to rebuild parts of them. More than 30,000 utility workers from 26 states were mobilized to help restore power once the storm passed, according to the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group. But doing so requires the use of equipment and communities that could be cut off by flooding or fallen trees.

out of breath

Many fuel terminals in Florida were closed, while high winds and flooding made trucking impossible in many areas. Fuel distributors in the state have warned that it will take a long time to replenish diesel generators for businesses and homes. Long-term disruptions to water transportation could jeopardize the state’s fuel supply — 90 percent of which comes from barges entering four ports.

President Joe Biden warning oil companies Against raising gasoline prices after Ian: “Don’t — let me repeat, don’t, don’t — use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices in the US.”

Breakfast is getting more expensive

Orange juice futures surged as Ian moved closer to the Florida coast. If crop losses in Florida’s famous crop are as widespread as feared — Potential 90% According to Maxar, its citrus-producing regions will further exacerbate the food inflation plaguing consumers.

For growers, the damage can force them to make life-changing decisions. Growers in Florida are already grappling with a devastating disease called citrus greening, which damages fruit and eventually kills trees. Ian’s devastating blow could be the final straw for some growers, said Raymond Royce, executive director of the Sebring Heights County Citrus Growers Association in Florida.

Then there’s the effect on fertilizers. Fertilizer maker Mosaic Co. pulled some of its Florida operations as Hurricane Ian neared landfall — another threat to food inflation.

Risk of chemical spills and dead fish

Florida, which produces most of the phosphate fertilizer in the United States, produces a radioactive and toxic by-product called phosphogypsum in the process, which is stored in stacks or large piles. Last year, one of them failed catastrophically due to heavy rains, triggering a red tide that killed about 1,800 pounds (816 kilograms) of marine life and forced the evacuation of nearby towns.environmental expert fear of potential repetition Working with Ian, his path could be close to where Mosaic has most of its phosphate facilities. A spokesman for the company said it had made improvements to its facilities to help prevent any such issues, including a “more comprehensive internal dike system”.

good luck getting insurance

Before Ian, the Florida insurance market was already a mess.But the storm hits Six bankrupt companies Among the insurance companies in the state that make homeowners policies. After previous natural disasters, the largest insurers have pulled out of the market, while smaller companies still active there are struggling to absorb losses.

Flood damage is generally not covered by household policies. Rather, they are policies administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“If this were a major flooding event, it could leave many homeowners vulnerable,” said Mark Friedlander, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute. “Other companies could also be pushed into potential bankruptcy if the storm caused significant damage. direction.”

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