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The Boston Globe

Business

Homeowners question the use of storm models

Sandy raised the stakes for weather-modeling companies like Boston’s AIR Worldwide — and for the insurance companies that rely on them to set homeowners’ rates

As Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the East Coast in late October, meteorologist Tim Doggett swung into action, poring through the latest weather information and racing to enter data into a powerful computer program before losing power.

But Doggett wasn’t preparing a weather forecast. Working in a row of sand-colored cubicles in the Back Bay, Doggett and his colleagues were trying calculate the amount of damage the storm could cause, even before it made landfall. The final estimate: as much as $22 billion in insured losses, making it the one of the costliest US storms on record.

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