Lunchtime Links: Measuring Hurricane Sandy’s Impact

With New York City and surrounding regions put underwater Monday night, industry and trade interests could also feel the impact of the storm.

First off, we hope that those in affected areas are safe.

A lot of crazy things happened Monday night as a result of Hurricane Sandy, including flooding, power outages, and the whole nine yards. Some early estimates have claimed the storm could be the fifth costliest in history, and Sandy’s impact could create financial distress for the region.

Here’s a quick roundup:

The long-term effect on meetings: Mitchell Beer of The Conference Publishers, writing for MeetingsNet, takes a view of the damage from Hurricane Sandy using a wide-angle lens, emphasizing the environmental lessons from the hurricane and using them as encouragement to keep greening conferences. “It’s too soon to say how many meeting facilities will end up in Hurricane Sandy’s path, or how many meetings and participants will be affected,” he writes. “For all the emphasis the industry rightly places on measuring its economic impact, we have no idea how much of that impact will be put at risk. I can’t imagine who in the industry would gather the information, even though every meeting planner should be clamoring for it.”

Rethinking power loss: The Christian Science Monitor, writing in reaction to the 7.4 million who lost power, says while underground power lines would have helped New York City keep the lights on, a study by the Electric Edison Institute trade group shows that it could be cost-prohibitive. The association’s 2009 study on the matter showed that the cost would be extremely high — $80,000 per mile in a rural area and $2.1 million per mile in a city. And underground wires aren’t foolproof. As Manhattan’s outage showed, even those with underground wires are still within danger of losing power if things get bad enough. As an association, how would you sell an expensive but potentially important service like this?

The damage caused: What sort of effect could the storm have on the economy? The Associated Press has a roundup of potential impacts, but if you’re looking for a localized example of how one industry will struggle to recover, start with the gas pump. The National Association of Convenience Stores notes that gas stations will face challenges getting fuel to their stations. “The challenge isn’t when everyone is hunkered down and there are no cars on the road,” the group’s Jeff Lenard told the wire service. “The problem is how fast can you be replenished. You don’t want to be the guy with the bagged pumps.”

How is your association dealing with Hurricane Sandy’s impact? And what sort of recovery plans have you put in place?

(via @LukeKerrDineen/Twitter)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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