Sep 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Hurricane Ida death toll rises past 60

A family clean up their storm-damaged house after Hurricane Ida on September 4, 2021 in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
A family on Saturday clean up their house, damaged by Hurricane Ida in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The number of reported U.S. deaths linked to Hurricane Ida has now exceeded 60 as recovery efforts continue — and over 550,000 people in Louisiana remained without power overnight.

The big picture: The death toll in Louisiana rose to 13 Sunday, a week after the storm slammed the state as a Category 4 hurricane. Ida's remnants later combined with other storm systems to lash the Northeastern U.S. with historic rainfall, triggering flash-flooding.

  • Biden approved New Jersey's emergency disaster declaration late Sunday, having earlier made similar approvals to free up federal funds for assistance for states including Louisiana and New York.

Details: N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed at a news conference Sunday 17 deaths from the storm — four in Westchester County and the rest in New York City. It caused over $50 million in damage in the state, affecting about 1,200 homes, Hochul said.

  • "The human toll was tremendous," she noted.

In New Jersey, a spokesperson for Gov. Phil Murphy said the storm killed 27 people and four others were "still missing," per Reuters.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed at a news conference one more death than he reported Saturday.

  • Edwards noted Saturday that the toll might increase because so many people were relying on power from generators — which have been blamed for at least four carbon monoxide deaths.

Pennsylvania reported the storm had killed at least four people, and Connecticut and Maryland each reported a death from the deluge, Reuters notes.

Of note: Edwards tweeted his thanks to President Biden for visiting Louisiana on Friday to see Ida's damage. Biden was due to visit New Jersey and New York on Tuesday.

Context: Climate change has exacerbated extreme precipitation events, Axios' Andrew Freedman notes.

  • Over 230 medical journals — including the Lancet and JAMA — published an editorial on Sunday evening warning that the climate crisis is the "greatest threat to global public health," calling on world leaders to act.

Editor’s note: We corrected the spelling of the first name of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

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