Local economic impacts of hurricanes

While the string of powerful storms didn't hit Hampton Roads directly, the region will still feel their impact through an increase in gas prices and a decrease in tourism.

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WVEC) -- Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria have left areas devastated, leaving behind billions of dollars in damage.

While the string of powerful storms didn’t hit Hampton Roads directly, the region will still feel their impact through an increase in gas prices and a decrease in tourism.

With gas prices rising around 50-cents a gallon, businesses relying on transportation will feel the sting, according to Old Dominion University Economics Professor Robert McNab.

“Delivery companies, even your local pizza company or local restaurant, who has to pay for takeout delivery services, all of a sudden their costs have increased quite dramatically in a very short period of time,” said McNab.

McNab said the storms also decreased the amount of out of town visitors, a blow to a region that relies on its $4.6 billion tourism industry. 

“Hurricane Jose created dangerous rip currents and created unsafe beach conditions and so people stayed away and if people stay away, they're not here spending money,” said McNab.

As federal aid money pours into devastated regions like Houston and Miami, McNabb added there could potentially be cuts in other areas like defense spending.

“Down the road we have to be concerned about the fact that we’re seeing larger and larger federal deficits and at some point we'll have to balance the budget,” said McNab.

While the end of hurricane season is still weeks away, McNab said Hampton Roads should see things return to normal around October - assuming the region isn't targeted by another hurricane.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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