Now comes the really hard part with Hurricane Sandy.
About 120,000 customers in New York and New Jersey remained without power Sunday, including tens of thousands of homes and businesses that were too damaged to connect to power even if it was running in their neighborhood. Sandy was tragic and vicious to some, merely a nuisance to others.
I am hearing that about 50,000 homes and businesses were so damaged that inspections will have to be done on the site before power can be safely restored. It is not uncommon for a natural disaster to have a fractured effect on the area impacted. One home may have extensive damage while right next to it the homes have minor damage. This become very true when trees and high winds are involved in the property damage. I have heard that as of 11/12/2012 I am hearing reports that over 40,000 trees have been removed by utility companies just to get the power going. No one knows at this time how many trees have been downed or damaged in this storm. Some trees have been weakened and now have an increased chance of coming down in the future. So what will happen with the 50,000 or so seriously damaged homes and businesses. Is there insurance money? If the damage is flood damage there may not be. Even if insurance is available will it cover the replacement cost? Add to this the fact that some home owners may already be underwater on their mortgages. With small businesses how many will have the money to reopen? There will be an economic bounce after Sandy as people rebuild. That bounce will be temporary. Within the next two years the real economic impact of Sandy will be determined as those severely impacted try to put their lives together. From what it is looking like now there are tens of thousands of people who will have some hard decisions to make.
My advice to these people is to find some expert advice and determine your options based on your resources and your situation. For following other billion dollar natural disasters in America there will be a lot of businesses that will not reopen and a lot of homeowners who will not have the resources to rebuild. Now here is a message to those communities. If you read the history of other billion dollar disasters the local community can make the difference. You can find examples of communities raising money, putting workforces together, and making up the difference needed to rebuild businesses and lives. Those communities that were successful in maximizing all resources to recover were also the ones to recover best and in the shortest time.