News/Op-Ed: Record-Breaking Hurricane Ida Rips Through The Eastern United States

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

Hurricane Ida has proven to be one of the most dangerous storms in history, having drastic effects on many states on the east coast with approximately $50-60 billion in property damage and a death toll over 50.

Photo by REUTERS/Marco Bello

Hurricane Ida first made landfall on the August 29th in Louisiana, marked as a category four storm with maximum sustained winds reaching up to 150 miles per hour. Since that day, Ida has been on a treacherous path of pain and destruction.

The lives lost has been mainly due to the flooding that has taken place and unfortunately is expected to continue to rise. The storm that started out in Louisiana has made its way through many states including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and many more.

The storm, which was initially predicted to cause an estimated $15 billion in property damage, has likely caused somewhere between $50-60 billion in damage. In a country where the economy is still recovering and in many ways still being impacted by COVID-19, the intense damage caused by the hurricane could not have come at a worse time.

In Louisiana alone, millions of people were without power as the hurricane, along with the trees it knocked over, destroyed power lines cutting off electricity from the people in the homes and businesses. Some of these outages included the entire city of New Orleans, which had a negative effect on the search and rescue efforts that were already underway. In some areas of Louisiana, it is possible that it may take up to a month before the power is restored.

As mentioned, with sustained winds of 150 mph, Ida has now tied the Last Island Hurricane in 1856 and Hurricane Laura in 2020 as the strongest hurricane in history to strike Louisiana. On top of that, it is also tied as the fifth strongest hurricane to have made landfall in any location inside the United States, even peaking at a wind speed of 172 miles per hour.

New Orleans, as well as the rest of Louisiana, was not the only place affected by the storm, as many other states dealt with disastrous impacts as well. People of other areas around the Gulf of Mexico suffered majorly, with residents fleeing and seeking safety and shelter. The hurricane passed toward the northeastern United States, through states such as Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

Not only did the hurricane itself cause extremely bad conditions for the people of these states, but the remnants of this hurricane proved disastrous as well. On September 1st, storm remnants caused a regional tornado outbreak in the northern mid-Atlantic area. These tornados proved to be extremely dangerous and stronger than the average remnant that is common from a tropical storm.

One of the major reasons that Ida was able to cause so much damage was its resilience to land. Most hurricanes weaken substantially after impact with land, but this was not the case with Ida. What started out as a category four hurricane retained this status for five hours after connecting with land, sustaining winds over 130 mph. It did not drop below major hurricane levels until nine hours from the original landfall.

As the U.S. deals with one problem after another, the country has shown incredible resilience to battle through many adversities. President Joe Biden gave remarks to the country and, most importantly, the people struggling, in order to tell them to keep safe and that nothing is beyond this country’s capacity when the people work together.

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