Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Hurricane Irene Aftermath Includes $55M in Costs, Rise in Mosquitoes

Hurricane Irene Aftermath Includes $55M in Costs, Rise in Mosquitoes

In addition to millions in estimated costs, Hurricane Irene has left in its aftermath an extreme pumpkin shortage and an unusually high number of mosquitoes plaguing the mid-Atlantic region.

According to New York City’s Office of Emergency Management, the costs of the response, recovery, and damage to the city'’s infrastructure was an estimated $55 million and the number was likely to rise in the upcoming weeks.

NYC will soon be applying for federal disaster aid and officials believe that 90 percent of costs would be reimbursed, the NY Daily News wrote.

New York officials stated the total cost of Hurricane Irene is predicted to exceed $1 billion and could potentially cost $15 billion nationwide.

A hefty price tag isn't all Irene left behind.

The storm slammed the U.S. East Coast with torrential rains, dumping nearly 16 inches in certain areas and, as a result, farmers located in the affected regions are faced with a severe pumpkin shortage, with some places losing entire crops.

With Halloween quickly approaching, pumpkin harvesters warned to expect wholesale prices for the orange gourd to be twice as high, NPR reported.

According to Darcy Pray, owner of Pray's Family Farms in Keeseville in upstate New York, the wholesale sale price for 32 to 45 pumpkins normally ranged from $150 to $200 in the region, but now the price is around $300 to $400.

"I think there's going to be an extreme shortage of pumpkins this year," said Pray.

He added, "I've tried buying from people down in the Pennsylvania area, I've tried locally here and I've tried reaching across the border to some farmers over in the Quebec area. There's just none around."

In addition to the shortage of pumpkins, heavy rains from Hurricane Irene have created perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes and have resulted in an unusually high number of the insects.

"The mosquitoes that are plaguing the Mid-Atlantic area right now are a result of the hurricanes and tropical storms that have recently passed through," added Janet McAllister, an entomologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA Today wrote.

McAllister advised that people wear repellent when outdoors and to not spend a lot of time at dusk and dawn outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus, continue to be a concern. However, the CDC has revealed that reports of the virus are down this year.


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