The hurricane season of 2011 is well under way now, that the first major hurricane in the Atlantic has developed. Hurricane Irene has pummeled through Puerto Rico and the Bahamas and now has its eyes set on the Eastern coast of the United States. Currently a category 3 hurricane with the potential to develop into a category 4, Hurricane Irene’s destruction seems inevitable.

Alex Howerton’s recent blog post
The Earthquake, the Hurricane, and the Supply Chain discusses natural disasters and what to do in order to decrease the negative effects of a natural disaster. Florida is no stranger to the devastation brought on by powerful hurricanes. They have clear evacuation plans and services as well as the experience with these situations to make sound business decisions in terms of minimizing their losses (proper contractual provisions, using more than one supply for goods, etc.) However, Florida appears to be one of the few eastern states that will be spared from the possible wrath of Hurricane Irene. It’s the more vulnerable states that are being targeted. After experiencing the aftershocks of Tuesday’s earthquake that struck central Virginia, the Northeast must now brace itself for another environmental abnormality.

This poses a huge problem. New York City has not been hit with a hurricane since 1821. New York City and other northern metropolitan cities are just not prepared to deal with such a powerful storm. If the hurricane continues on its current path, these cities will most likely experience major storm surges, intense winds, and power outages.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this can cause at least $100 billion dollars in insured losses alone. From entertainment to agriculture, many businesses will have no means of operating and could be forced to close for days, depending on the severity of power loss and property damage. Disruptions in businesses in the East coast will definitely be felt throughout the country and other parts of the world. These businesses will be non-functional, causing a major gap in their production lines. Airlines will have to cancel flights, causing many states to lose out on revenue generated from tourists and business travel.

There is a lot to lose if Hurricane Irene makes its way up the east coast. It is still too early to tell its exact path, so all we can do is cross our fingers and prepare.

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Victoria Baston

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