On its march up the East Coast over the weekend, the storm left at least 15 dead, as many as 3.6 million customers without electricity, widespread flooding and thousands of downed trees. It forced the closure of New York's mass transit system, and the cancellation of thousands of flights.
President Barack Obama warned that the region's problems were far from over. "Many Americans are still at risk of power outages and flooding which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks," Obama said, promising federal government help for recovery efforts.
By late Sunday afternoon, Irene was bringing tropical storm conditions to the six states of New England, still packing winds of 60 miles per hour.
It isn't immediately clear how much Irene will cost but in New Jersey alone, the damage is expected in "the billions of dollars," Governor Chris Christie told NBC's "Meet the Press."
With many thousands of homeowners in the region suffering flooding there will now be many questions over whether insurance policies offer cover and whether the federal government's flood program can handle the claims, especially at a time of austerity in Washington and in cash-strapped states.More...