Hed-Hurricane Ida Wreaks Havoc in the United States
By: Samantha Bravo
On August 26th, 2021, the US was hit by a tropical storm known as Hurricane Ida. It became the second-most dangerous hurricane ever to hit the country next to Hurricane Katrina which occurred in Louisiana.
The hurricane caused many inches of rain that resulted in several tornadoes and severe flooding in just a few hours. The damages caused by the hurricane cost up to $95 billion in repairs which also makes it the 7th costliest hurricane since the 2000’s.
On September 15th, it was confirmed that Hurricane Ida had caused 1.2 million power outages and killed a total of 116 people. This includes 30 people in New Jersey, 5 in Pennsylvania, 4 in Philadelphia and 1 in Connecticut.
In New York City, about 18 people were killed including an 86-year-old woman who drowned in her basement apartment. Others were either trapped in cars or were drowned as they tried to escape.
“It is unacceptable that we did not prepare for Ida with the same rigor we did as Henri,” said Francisco Moya, a city councilman from Queens. “No one should have been driving, trying to escape the storm, or stuck at work because of dangerous flooding.”
On August 27th, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul said that they would address the issue by setting up an emergency evacuation plan for those who were living in Basement apartment buildings. They would also set up a warning system to let the tenants know that floods are coming.
“There has to be a better warning system for people who are in their homes,” she said. “There’s a human being living in there, or multiple human beings living in that space, and we need a system to alert them that we are in danger.”
As of now, the MTA has confirmed that trains in Staten Island are only running between Great Kills and St. George. The Annadale train is completely closed off due to the debris covering the tracks.
MTA has also stated flooding from Ida cut the power on some train lines and flooded commuter rack trails. Buses are also very limited because the storm also knocked down a transit service.
According to acting chairman, Janno Leiber the MTA suffered around $75 million in damages from the flooding during the beginning of the month. They had also pumped at least 75 million gallons of water out of the subway system after the storm.
The disaster has also resulted in environmental problems. For example, women in New York prisons such as Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and Taconic Correctional Facility started complaining about contaminated water after the hurricane.
“The morning after Hurricane Ida, the water possessed a foul-smelling odor,” said Britanny Austin, who has been incarcerated in Bedford Hills. “It smelled like a mixture between sulfur and copper, and it tasted like dirt and chemicals. There was chatter about it the entire day.”
Scientists have suggested that the hurricane swept across the country due to global warming, which is the cause of many natural disasters. In this case, the storm went from a Category 1 to Category 4 storm when it traveled over abnormally hot waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
President Biden predicts that after Ida, extreme weather events will “come with more ferocity”. He stated that we will still feel the effects even if it’s not in our own backyard.
Biden plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure which is currently being assessed by Congress.
“We can’t turn it back very much, but we can prevent it from getting worse,” said Biden. “We don’t have any more time.”