Superstorm Sandy costs rise to $50 billion

Despite the growing cost, Zandi didn't expect the storm to require a revision of economic growth estimates. The storm could cost gross domestic product (GDP) a percentage point in the final three months of the year but could provide a similar boost in the January-March quarter of 2013. 

Also on Thursday, Eqecat, a catastrophe-modeling firm that serves insurance companies, upped its estimates to $50 billion, more than double the inital expectations. 

Hurricane Katrina tops the list for destruction at about $130 billion, with a total price tag ranging upward of $157 billion, according to Zandi's estimates. 

The storm forced the closure of the stock markets for two days, knocked out power across New York City and flooded subway tunnels. Towns along the New Jersey shore saw boardwalks sucked into the ocean and sand and water pushed up into streets, filling homes and cars. 

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