Hurricane Ida stops shipping on the Lower Mississippi, floods New England States

Sep 3, 2021  | 4 min  | Ep4703

There was a decade and a half between the August 29th landfall of Hurricanes Katrina and Ida. The damage to infrastructure was different this time, but the remnants of the storm drenched the Northeast. The National Weather Service office in New York City had never issued a Flash Flood Warning until this week. John Torpy wraps up another wild week of weather.

Devastating environmental events hit the U.S. on multiple fronts this week as wildfires grew in the west, drought and flooding mixed in the Midwest, and Hurricane Ida idled shipping on the Mighty Mississippi.

Commissioner Mike Strain, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry: Speaker 1: (03:38)“We expect the river to open from nine mile point out into the Gulf in seven days./Speaker 1: (04:13)And I think the main message to America is that we're going to get this river open as soon as possible, A-S-A-P. “
While hurricane Ida mostly spared Louisiana crops, it did not spare the nation's most efficient way to ship them. Ships and barges were scattered on the banks of the Mississippi River, causing a stoppage for river traffic just as grain farmers across the Midwest are preparing their combines for the 2021 harvest.
Commissioner Mike Strain, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry:Speaker 1: (04:08) We have a lot of ships in the river that are waiting to be loaded. We have a lot of barges in the river that we need to get to the North. Speaker 1: (04:23)Because that is how we were going to be able to move the corn and the beans and the grain and the other products up and down the Mississippi river.”
Hurricane Ida, the fifth most powerful storm to strike Louisiana, made landfall 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina struck the Pelican state. 
The Category 4 storm knocked out power to one million people in Louisiana and authorities say it could be weeks before power is fully restored.
Early damage estimates from hurricane Ida currently hover around $16 billion and officials anticipate the final total could be as high as $50 billion. The fourth named storm of the season made landfall at Port Fourchon, severely damaging a facility that is essential to the production of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Heavy rainfall from the remnants of Ida washed out roads in Mississippi and flooded several rivers as far north as the New England states. The high water was responsible for dozens deaths.
In the West, hot, dry weather continues to fuel wildfires in Northern California. The resort city of South Lake Tahoe lays squarely in the path of the Caldor fire and more than 20,000 residents have left the area due to mandatory evacuation orders. The fire has charred over 200,000 acres since August 14th. Only 25 percent of the fire is contained with nearly 4,500 fire personnel facing numerous obstacles to combating the blaze.
Keith Wade, Caldor Fire Incident Command spokesperson: “We've experienced very erratic winds, very high temperatures and very low humidities. And we're in areas that haven't burned on some records for decades or even 100 years./It's created a huge challenge for firefighters who are working to try to contain the incident." 
Ample rainfall in the upper Midwest reduced drought conditions in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas. Flash flood warnings were issued in northern Iowa, where heavy rains pushed rivers and streams out of their banks. The U.S. drought monitor also revealed widespread improvements in conditions for the Gopher state and much of the High Plains.
For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy

Producer Contact: torpy@iowapbs.org, @TVTorpy on Twitter

Grinnell Mutual Insurance
Sukup
Accu-Steel
Pioneer