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Recovery from Irene begins as homeowners insurance claims roll in

Posted On Mon, August 29, 2011

With Hurricane Irene completely past the United States, the cleanup from one of the most serious storms to strike the Mid-Atlantic coast in recent years will likely be extensive, even though the storm was not as intense as some forecasters had feared.

Despite the fact that roughly 2.4 million people were evacuated ahead of the storm, at least 24 deaths were linked to Irene, along with numerous homes and businesses which sustained significant wind, rain and flood damage.

While Irene did weaken significantly from early predictions, making landfall as just a Category 1 storm instead of a Category 3, many parts of the East Coast still sustained major damage. The Wall Street Journal reports New Jersey officials say damage in that state alone should top $1 billion.

Bloomberg reports nearly 6 million homes lost power at some point during the storm. Restoring electricity to all of those properties could take weeks in some cases.

It's unknown what impact the storm itself will have on homeowners' insurance rates, but early estimates show that losses from the storm may not be as high as previously predicted. Before the storm, the Associated Press reported that a computer model had estimated the damage from the storm at $4.7 billion, with other estimates pegging the upper range at $35 billion.

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