Ida Could Rank Among Costliest Hurricanes Ever

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$35 billion

That’s the upper end of one estimate of the amount of damage Hurricane Ida could leave in its wake, potentially making it one of the costliest storms ever to hit the U.S.

Ida came ashore Sunday at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, southwest of New Orleans, pummeling the coastline with 150 mile-per-hour winds, causing flooding and inflicting widespread damage. Power was knocked out for more than 1.1 million people as of Monday, according to an estimate by poweroutage.us, a website that collects data from utilities. Based on a computer model, the storm might cause a total of $25 billion to $35 billion in damages, Enki Research, an independent research organization, said Monday. 

If damages wind up on the high side of that range, Ida would be the eighth-costliest storm to hit the U.S. right after Hurricane Ike, which struck the Texas and Louisiana coasts in 2008, taking a $38 billion toll, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Taking broader economic impacts into account, the hurricane could cost anywhere from $35 billion to $50 billion, Enki said. Those impacts include its disruption of oil and gas facilities in Louisiana, where nearly a fifth of the nation’s total refining capacity is located, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, where at least 17% of U.S. crude oil is produced. As of Monday, 95% of oil production in the gulf had been shut down as a precaution against the storm, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. On shore, nine refineries closed or scaled back their operations and several pipelines also closed down, the Department of Energy said. 

Motorists could see temporary spikes in gasoline prices depending on how much damage has been caused and how long it takes to bring the facilities back online, AAA said Monday.

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