UpdateThe storm killed at least 44 people in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The slopes of Hurricane Ida brought exceptionally heavy rains, tornadoes, and numerous floods and mudslides. The victims drowned mainly in their car or in the basement of their home. The United Nations describes this disaster as “perhaps the most costly climate disaster in history”.
Governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter that 23 people were killed in New Jersey. “It is mainly about the people who drowned in their cars due to the floods, and we grieve with the relatives,” he added.
In New York City, according to police, 13 people died as a result of the tropical storm, while three people died in nearby Westchester. According to NBC News, 11 people died in New York because they were trapped in the basement of their home. Four people died in a Philadelphia suburb. In Connecticut, a policeman died when his car was dragged into the water.
Record amounts of precipitation were measured in downtown New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio described the storm and the city’s many floods as “historic”. Metro connections were also inundated and trains and flights were canceled due to the floods.
New York Gov. Cathy Hochhol called for more investment in improving infrastructure. It also called on insurers not to be too alarmed about the claims.
Since then, President Joe Biden has pledged support. He praised “heroic” firefighters in New York after they rescued people from flooded subway stations.
In New York State, there are 9,516 households without electricity, in New Jersey 12,122 customers and in Pennsylvania at least 25,533 customers. In southern Louisiana, where Hurricane Ida made landfall, 845,112 customers are still without power. In New Orleans, this relates to 20,853 households.
The most expensive weather disaster in history?
The United Nations says Ida could become the most expensive air disaster in history. “Often the economic impact is only felt afterwards and that is the case again. The devastation to the Louisiana power grid means that the economic cost can eventually exceed the cost of Hurricane Katrina,” Petteri Taalas said. He is the chief executive of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which is part of the United Nations.
Damage is currently still being measured. “So we don’t know the final cost, a lot will depend on when the electricity can be restored,” Taalas said. The final balance is expected within a month at the latest.
When Hurricane Katrina passed in September 2005, large parts of New Orleans were flooded. At least 1,800 people were killed and economic losses are estimated at $163.6 billion (137.8 billion euros).
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive climate disaster since the beginning of the last century. Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, which hit the United States in 2017, came in second and third place. The damages amounted to 81.6 and 58.5 billion euros, respectively.
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