New York: Losses from Hurricane Irene are estimated to total about USD seven billion, much less than what was feared from the massive storm that battered the US east coast over the weekend, initial estimates say.

The total damage by Irene may reach USD 7 billion by the time the storm tapers in the coming days, an early estimate by consulting company Kinetic Analysis Corporation said.

Majority of the losses are expected to be from property damaged in New York and New Jersey.

Insured damage from Irene will be in the vicinity of two billion and three billion dollars, it said.

Kinetic's director of research and development Chuck Watson said the damage by Irene was less than initially feared partly since it hit on a weekend, minimising the damage on businesses.

Watson said had Irene remained strong by the time it reached New York City, damages could have been in the range of USD 30 billion.

Eqecat, which models the effects of natural disasters, said Irene, which had diminished to a tropical storm by the time it hit New York, had caused an estimated 300 million to 600 million dollars in insured losses in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

In the Caribbean, Irene caused an estimated damage of USD 500 million to USD 1.1 billion, mostly in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Boston-based AIR Worldwide that analyzes cost of storm damage, said.

Irene had left at least 21 people dead in eight states, with millions without power, as it thrashed cities from North Carolina to Boston with strong winds and heavy rains over the weekend.

(Agencies)