Hurricane Matthew is on track to inflict billions of dollars’ worth of damage to properties and businesses on the U.S. Southeast coast, early estimates show.
Wind and storm surge damage could cause property losses of between $4 billion and $6 billion and that’s just for insured homes and commercial buildings, CoreLogic, a real estate research firm, said Saturday morning.
The estimates don’t include the economic losses that are likely to stem from additional flooding and business interruption, which could raise total U.S. storm costs by tens of billions of dollars in the coming days.
Total U.S. losses from storm damages may eventually total $25 billion, according to Chuck Watson, a modeler with Enki Research, USA Today reported. Moody’s Analytics suggested costs would be even higher, potentially rivaling the nearly $70 billion in damage wrought by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.
Matthew made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday around 11 a.m. EDT near McClellanville, South Carolina.
The powerful storm had for days hovered menacingly off the East Coast as a Category 3, then 2 event.
U.S. damages, however, are mostly limited to structures and infrastructure.
In Haiti, where Matthew made landfall on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane, at least 877 people were killed, Reuters reported. At least seven other people have died of cholera as flood waters recently mixed with sewage.
Early reports suggest six people died in Florida after Matthew bore down on the state on Friday. More than a million residents were still without power on Saturday morning.
Storm surges flooded a major highway along Daytona Beach, ripped trees out of the ground and tore the roofs off houses along Florida’s coast.
On Saturday morning, the weakened hurricane was causing flash flooding, damaging storm surges and heavy rains across coastal Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Multiple roads in Charleston were underwater, with much of the city’s downtown area experiencing storm surge flooding.