Will Sandy’s economic impact be felt in Wisconsin?

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BROWN DEER -- Calculating just how much damage superstorm Sandy has inflicted won't be easy, but economists predict the final cost of the storm will be between $30 million and $50 million. As cleanup efforts begin on the east coast, some in Wisconsin are wondering what kind of economic impact the storm will have here in the Midwest.

When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, gas prices went up across the country. However, experts say despite Sandy's strength and devastation, they don't expect gas prices to change that much.

On Tuesday, the nation got a glimpse of the damage left behind by Sandy. Millions were without power and transportation systems remained crippled.

Experts say despite the widespread damage Sandy caused, the economic impact should be temporary and limited.

"Nationwide, we are not going to see that much of an impact.  The impact would mostly be concentrated in the east coast. Food prices will be affected because supply transportation has been disrupted," Marquette University Economics Dept. Chair Abdur Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury says any nationwide impact on food, utilities and even gas prices won't be significant. Analysts at GasBuddy.com agree.

"The northeast is not exactly the refining hub that the Gulf Coast is. We shouldn't see price fluxuations -- especially outside the east coast," Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy.com said.

Small businesses damaged by Sandy will need time to recover, but analysts say that should be balanced out in the overall market by an uptick in construction.

After an historic two days shut down, the U.S. markets are expected to reopen Wednesday. Trading volume is expected to surge. Throughout much of the month, an average of 3.5 billion shares have been exchanging hands each day, but experts say that could double on Wednesday.

"I'm expecting to see a little more volatility in the stock market," Chowdhury said.

As for who will cover the cost of the storm, it's predicted government spending and insurance will cover 60% to 70% of the damage.

Experts say because there haven't been a lot of natural disasters this year so far, there shouldn't be much of an increase.

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