America’s East coast has suffered major damages and loss of life as Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast in one of the worst direct hits in 170 years.
On August 23rd, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) noted a potential tropical cyclone developing in the Southwestern Caribbean sea. Following days of monitoring, the NHC upgraded the storm to a Hurricane on August 27th. The southern states of Louisiana, New Orleans, and Mississippi urged people to evacuate as the storm moved into the Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall in Louisiana on August 29th, 16 years to the day that the devastating hurricane, Hurricane Katrina, made landfall in the state.
Hurricane Ida has caused significant damage across multiple states as she moved Northeast from Louisiana. Significant flooding has been reported in several states as large-scale power outages left millions without electricity. The death toll has reached 50 across the north-eastern states, though this number is expected to continue to rise as recovery efforts continue.
The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, said he had been told to expect three to six inches of rain. However, a record 3.15 inches fell in just one hour in Central Park. New York has suffered greatly due to flash flooding which closed subway stations and cut electricity. De Blasio said “the suddenness, the brutality of storms now, it is different,” in a warning of the impact climate change has had on the severity of Hurricanes in recent years.
President Joe Biden said of the hurricane damage and unprecedented flooding that this is “yet another reminder” of the climate crisis. Biden said he would push Congress to approve his ‘Build Back Better’ plan. This would bring “historic investment” in infrastructure including modernising roads, improving energy grids, and better management of water.
The NHC is currently monitoring the development of a second large hurricane, Hurricane Larry, in the Atlantic Ocean. Although this storm has the potential to bring greater devastation than Ida, it is currently not expected to make landfall.