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6 major economic threats Hurricane Ian poses once it has come ashore

Powerful tropical storms like Hurricane Ian threaten to cause lasting damage to homes, crops, coastlines and industries long after they make landfall.

The initial onslaught of wind and water as well as prolonged flooding pose significant risks to the lives of those who do not evacuate. And level 4 demons like Ian can disrupt power grids, level houses and make many roads impassable, isolating people when they need help most. Economic ripples extend beyond the path of the storm.

In the case of Ian, many of these effects will be magnified because it hits the heart of Florida, the third most populous US state. The storm had winds of 150 miles (241 km) per hour when it landing after 3 p.m. local time, Wednesday near Cayo Costa — tied for a fifth-strongest storm to make landfall in the United States. As the United States and the state begin to transition to hurricane response and then recovery, here are some threats to watch for.

Water wall

Storms push water in front of them as they move over the ocean. This is called “storm is coming, ”Can cause significant coastal devastation. The low-lying geography and shallow continental shelf in parts of western Florida make it particularly vulnerable. Expected storm surge of 12 feet (4 meters) to 18 feet by Ian could bring seawater inland.

Rising water and the winds Ian brought ashore would deal a devastating blow to the cities and towns along the coast. But the heavy rains it causes across Florida and Georgia, South Carolina and beyond will spread misery – and damage. Case in point: Walt Disney World, in the Orlando area of ​​central Florida, released Place order for hotel guests despite being about 140 miles from where the storm made landfall.

More than 2 feet of rain could fall across central Florida. The National Weather Service warned of possible record flooding in rivers across the state. Over the next seven days, torrential rain could fall from Florida to southern New Jersey and across the Appalachian Mountains, according to the US Weather Center.

The Sunshine State can turn dark for days

Category 4 hurricanes cause damage to the power grid – such as power poles – that the National Hurricane Center speak Outages can last for weeks or even months. Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest utility, told customers that “widespread power outages“From Ian and warned that they could linger for days. The NextEra Energy Utilities Inc. spent billions of dollars strengthening its system after a raging hurricane hit the state more than a decade ago, but now it faces the prospect of having to rebuild parts of it. More than 30,000 utility workers from 26 states were mobilized to help restore power when the storm passed, according to the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group. But doing so would require access to devices and communities that could be cut off by flooding or fallen trees.

Out of gas

Many fuel stations in Florida were closed, while high winds and flooding made truck deliveries in many areas impossible. Fuel distributors in the state are warning of long wait times to refuel businesses and homes with generator diesel. Prolonged disruptions in navigation could pose a risk to the state’s fuel supply – 90% of which are barges entering four ports.

President Joe Biden warn oil companies Ian’s way of fighting high gas prices: “Don’t – let me repeat, don’t, don’t – use this as an excuse to raise gas prices in the US.”

Breakfast is getting more and more expensive

Orange juice futures spiked as Ian approached the Florida coast. And if the crop damage of Florida’s famous crop is as widespread as people fear – 90% chance about its citrus belt, according to Maxar – it will exacerbate food inflation that is plaguing consumers.

For growers, the damage can force life-changing decisions. Growers in Florida have been grappling with a nasty disease called green-vein yellowing that damages fruit and eventually kills trees. Raymond Royce, executive director at the Highlands Citrus Growers Association in Sebring, Florida, said:

Then there is the effect of fertilizers. Fertilizer maker Mosaic Co. evacuated some of its operations in Florida as Hurricane Ian neared landfall – another threat of food inflation.

Risk of chemical spills and dead fish

Florida produces most of the United States’ phosphate fertilizers, in a process that creates a radioactive and toxic by-product called phosphogypsum, which is stored in piles — or large mounds. Last year, one of them failed miserably due to heavy rain, causing a red tide that killed about 1,800 pounds (816 kg) of marine life and forced evacuations in nearby towns. Environmentalist fear a potential repetition with Ian, the human path can reach where Mosaic has most of its phosphate bases. A company spokesperson said it had made improvements to its facilities to help prevent any such problems, including “a more comprehensive system of internal levees”.

Good luck getting insurance

Florida’s insurance market was already chaotic before Ian. But the storm comes later six defaults among the insurance companies that write homeowner policies in the state. The largest insurers have pulled out of the market after previous disasters, while the smaller companies still operating there have struggled to endure losses.

Flood damage is generally not covered in housing policies. Instead, they fall under policies administered by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“If this is a major flood, that could leave many homeowners vulnerable,” said Mark Friedlander, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute. “If there is major damage from the wind, other companies could also be pushed to insolvency.”

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