Economists predict hurricanes will get stronger, more costly
Development and changing weather patterns will mean more intense storms that will deliver increasingly more economic harm to Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast area, says economist Loren Scott, who was one of more than a dozen experts and local leaders participating in panel discussions at Thursday's Louisiana Coastal Resilience Forum. Sponsored by LSU and Entergy Louisiana, the forum brought leaders together to present the results of several studies pertaining to how major storms, such as hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, are expected to increasingly impact the Gulf Coast economically through recovery costs and job losses. Experts also discussed how to make south Louisiana more resilient and recover from storms faster. Loren C. Scott & Associates measured the economic effects of storms in 2010, as well as the impact of those expected at the 2030 level of activity. In addition to property damage, the study shows average annual business losses from wind, flooding and storm surge at $1.1 billion in the Terrebonne and Lafourche parish areas alone in 2010, and $290 million in lost wages. By 2030, these average annual losses are expected to grow to $1.3 billion in lost business sales and $360 million in lost wages. Scott says there are cost-effective investments that can be made to reduce some losses. Specifically, investments in hardening electric sector transmission and distribution assets against storms provide more than $1 returned for each $1 invested, he says.
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