Cleanup efforts continue from the Gulf Coast to Long Island Sound and many parts in between in the wake of Ida, which arrived on the weekend as a Category 4 hurricane and drenched much of the country as a potent tropical storm.
Ida left in its wake billions of dollars of damages, hundreds of thousands of utility customers without electricity, destroyed homes and businesses, and at least three dozen deaths. The powerful storm also further disrupted an already-struggling supply chain.
Most of the highways in the south and the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast have been reopened, but governors in New York and New Jersey continue to caution against any unnecessary travel.
The Gulf Coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana took a direct hit from Ida. The death toll there stands at least at nine, and two utility linemen were reported killed while working in Alabama. The storm's 150 mph winds toppled some 5,000 utility poles, cutting off power to much of the region. Some 20,000 utility workers from around the country have arrived in the region to help restore service.
Ida also did extensive damage to the supply of gasoline and diesel fuel. Two-thirds of the state's extensive refining capacity is shut down and/or damaged. This is a problem that will cause problems elsewhere as Louisiana exports most of the petroleum products it refines to the rest of the country.
After mauling Louisiana and Mississippi, Ida turned to the northeast, leaving massive amounts of rain in its path and spinning off numerous deadly tornadoes. Flooding there claimed the lives of at least 18 people as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
New York's new Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a state of emergency for 14 counties, including New York City, Long Island, and the lower Hudson Valley.
"This State of Emergency eliminates potential hurdles for local response activities and provides the necessary tools to make sure New Yorkers can quickly and safely recover," she said in a news conference today. "I encourage New Yorkers in these affected areas to please pay attention to local weather reports, stay off the roads and avoid all unnecessary travel during this time."
New Jersey State Police posted this on its Facebook page this morning: "Many roads remain flooded and closed this morning throughout the state. Please stay off of the roads if you do not need to be out to allow crews to clear downed wires and trees. If you see a flooded area, do not attempt to drive through it. Turn around; don’t drown."
If you're driving takes you to any of these places, you may wish to check on road conditions before you go: