We recently asked the question: “What happened to your home during Hurricane Ida?”
Here are the responses:
- Power went out 6%
- Basement leaked or flooded 4%
- Windows or doors leaked 2%
- Roof or ceiling leaked 2%
- Home flooded 2%
Fortunately, 88 percent reported “none of the above.” We’re hopeful that they escaped any damage at all to their homes. Note that in the list above, respondents could and did select more than one item.
Hurricane Ida Damage
Our survey respondents were luckier than most that had to deal with Hurricane Ida. As of this writing, 95 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to Ida’s 150-mph winds and horrific storm surge. Then there was the flooding damage all along its path from Louisiana and Mississippi extending into the Northeastern United States.
The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, so we’re fortunately reaching the end of the season. Even so, this is a good time to assess the state of your own preparations for hurricanes. We wrote extensively on this in our earlier article on hurricane preparedness week.
Path of Destruction: Wind, Rain, Storm Surge
Hurricane Ida was rated as a Category 1 hurricane as it swept through Cuba and intensified from Category 2 to 4 with winds of 150 mph as it worked its way to making landfall in Louisiana. Within four hours of landfall on August 29, it was still a Category 4, and four hours later, it dropped to Category 3. By August 30, it had weakened to a tropical depression. Even with this significant change, continued high winds and very heavy rain caused flooding and damage all along Ida’s path.
The property damage was greatest in Louisiana with power lost in most areas for 10 days, oil production shut down, and many homes were damaged or completely destroyed. There were 12 direct and 21 indirect deaths recorded in the state. Yet more direct deaths were recorded in New Jersey, 30, and in New York, there were 18. This was due in part to Ida being the third tropical storm to hit that area in the past three weeks. Already-soaked soil and flooded rivers caused still more damage. Plus, several tornadoes damaged homes and property throughout the area.
Ida’s full path extended from Louisiana to Mississippi, brushed through northwest Alabama, through Tennessee, into Kentucky, West Virginia, Northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and into the Canadian Maritime provinces before it dissipated on September 7.
Hurricane Ida Warnings and Preparations
In Louisiana, the governor issued a state of emergency on August 27. The New Orleans mayor issued a mandatory evacuation order for parts of the city prone to flooding on August 28. Mississippi closed several schools and universities on August 30. Weather warnings and similar closures were announced throughout the path of the hurricane.
Preparations included New Orleans levee systems improvements totaling $15 billion since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Similar (albeit lower) investments were made throughout the Gulf Coast states in preparation for hurricane season.
Hurricane Preparation Steps for Your Home
From this, you can see that hurricanes are very serious weather events that can and do lead to deaths and widespread property damage. They demand your best efforts to protect your family and your home. Here are the key steps you need to take as part of your hurricane preparation.
- Flood insurance.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover flooding caused by natural disasters. Check with your insurance agent or use the National Flood Insurance Program to obtain the right coverage for your home.
- Family emergency plan.
This plan must cover who does what and when. Primarily it’s about getting to your home shelter and what to do if you’re caught away from home.
- Emergency home shelter.
Designate an area of your home for an emergency shelter. An interior room without windows is best to protect from high winds. Stock it with supplies.
- Emergency supplies.
Your emergency shelter needs to be stocked with food for several days, along with a first aid kit, a flashlight and batteries, charged cell phones, prescription medications, pet food, sleeping bags, personal hygiene items, and more.
- Weather monitoring system.
Use a NOAA weather radio or smartphone app to keep up with weather warnings so you know when to take shelter and when it’s safe to go outside.
- Emergency generator.
Consider purchasing a small gas-powered generator to provide electricity to your refrigerators, fans, radio, and so on. However, beware that four died and 141 were hospitalized in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators operated inside the home. They must be outside, so make sure you have the right extension cords for your home.
- Evacuation information.
If your home is damaged or an evacuation order is issued, you need information on shelters, the routes to them, and alternate routes. Be sure to have supplies you can take with you.
- Home preparation.
Regular home maintenance is essential not only to protect your home from day-to-day wear and tear but also from severe storms. Keep your roof in repair. Trim trees to prevent branches from falling on your home. Make sure your basement or crawl space is waterproof with the necessary drainage systems. A sump pump with battery backup is essential during power outages.
A free inspection from the country’s leading foundation repair experts can help you identify what steps to take to secure your foundation and protect your home.