‘Overhyped’ Hurricane Irene Likely To Be One Of The 10 Costliest Disasters Ever

I’ve seen a lot of sentiment to the effect that the media or politicians somehow “overhyped” Hurricane Irene. I’ll gladly grant that a flaw in the 24 hour cable news model is that basically whatever they are covering winds up being somewhat overplayed relative to all the stories they’re not covering. But a giant hurricane headed for the most densely populated and economically important part of the country is a very legitimate big-time news story. Today we learn that even though none of the feared cataclysmic flooding of Manhattan occurred, the storm “will most likely prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history,” doing $7 billion to $10 billion worth of direct damage, much of it not covered by insurance.

You also have to consider that part of the point of doing things like largely evacuating beach communities on the Jersey Shore, the Outer Banks, etc., was precisely to avoid having people die in those areas. They were evacuated, and consequently relatively few people were killed in the storm. That’s success, not hype.