At least four people have died in the United States since Sunday (29) due to the impacts of Hurricane Ida, which, losing strength, turned into a tropical storm and struck the southeast of the country, notably the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. More than a million Americans are without electricity.
On Monday evening, two people died and ten were injured after torrential rains caused a collapse of a Mississippi highway. In Louisiana, a man drowned while trying to maneuver his car in New Orleans, and another died after a tree fell in Prairieville.
Entergy, the Louisiana power company, said it “would take days to determine the extent of damage to the power grid and much longer to restore power transmission in the area.”
Power shortages and, in some places, lack of water are cause for concern for the heatwave approaching Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday, according to an alert from the National Weather Service.
President Joe Biden has approved the Louisiana State Federal Disaster Declaration Request and Mississippi Emergency Declaration Request, making it easier to send federal assistance to complement the state’s efforts. “We knew Hurricane Ida had the potential to do massive damage and that’s exactly what we saw,” the Democrat said in a statement Monday.
More than 3,600 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees have been dispatched to the hardest-hit areas, along with 3.4 million meals, millions of gallons of water and nearly 200 generators, said the White House in a statement Monday. .
“The biggest concern is that we are still doing search and rescue and we have people in Southeast Louisiana who are in difficult places,” said State Governor John Bel. Edwards at NBC.
Still counting the damage left by Ida, some parts of the United States believe that the infrastructure built after the devastating passage of Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago has proven to be effective. The phenomenon has killed more than 1,800 people.
In New Orleans, the dike system planned with around $ 15 billion managed to stop some of the advancing water and remained standing, preventing the area from being inundated. “The dollars of state and federal partners invested in our dike system have not been wasted. However, we need to fix our broken power grid,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell wrote on a social network.
Now downgraded to a tropical depression, the Ida is heading towards Tennessee and Massachusetts in the coming days. Counties in Tennessee are under flood alert, which means conditions are favorable for flooding, including in an area of the state that is still recovering from record rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Fred.
Today, the consensus in the American scientific community is growing that the rapid intensification of the hurricane is rooted in climate change. “We know that hurricanes generally intensify more quickly,” Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist at Nature Conservancy, an organization related to biodiversity conservation, told CNN. “They’re bigger and stronger than they would be otherwise, they’re associated with a lot more precipitation, and rising sea levels make the storm surge worse.”