Hurricane Irene made landfall in the U.S. on Aug. 27, as it slammed into North Carolina and left a path of destruction up the East Coast and along the Northeast as far as Vermont.
Hurricane Irene will cost taxpayers about $1.5 billion in federal disaster relief, according to the White House. A blog posting by White House budget director Jack Lew detailed the costs and said that this $1.5 billion will be in addition to the $5.2 billion already allotted for disaster relief for the 2012 fiscal year.
At least 20 fatalities in 9 states are being blamed on the storm according to FEMA estimates. That led to emergency declarations being signed by President Obama for Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The AP reported 4.5 million homes and businesses lost power, with two million of the outages being in the Tri-State area alone. Downed trees, power lines and flooded roadways made the task of restoring power to affected customers a difficult one for power companies.
The destructive threat of Irene caused officials to take unprecedented measures in the interest of the public’s protection.
Hurricane Irene did not pack as powerful a punch as was first feared and was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly after hitting the East Coast, however it has left parts of the nation generally unfamiliar with this type of natural disaster reeling amid the destruction.