(Bloomberg) -- As Hurricane Matthew rolled toward Florida earlier this week, the meteorologists at Verisk Analytics were tracking its every move.

They weren’t just plotting the usual meteorological stuff, though, and making the usual forecasts: wind speed, rainfall, sea-swell. They also were armed with new-fangled intelligence -- like a model that displays the types, and current density level, of the trees surrounding electricity lines -- that allowed them to spit out an estimate of how many households and businesses would lose power.

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