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Hurricane Irene to deliver blow to economy
Experts expect Irene to be a multibillion-dollar disaster
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' As Hurricane Irene roars toward the East Coast __ home to some of the country's most densely populated cities and costliest waterfront real estate __ experts are forecasting a multibillion-dollar disaster.

Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall in North Carolina as a Category 2 storm early Saturday, then move up the Eastern Seaboard, where more than 50 million people from the Carolinas to Massachusetts could be in the path of heavy rain and tropical-force winds. The economic impact of the hurricane largely will depend on factors that include the storm's size, where it makes landfall, and the speed at which it's moving when it hits the coast. But experts already are forecasting billions of dollars in losses.

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