Publication Date September 7, 2021

Power Outages Drag On Amid Dangerous Heat After Ida

Aiden Locobon and Rogelio Paredes look through the remnants of their family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, September 4, 2021 in Dulac, LA. Credit: John Locher, AP

After more than a week without power — and with no end in sight for hard-hit parishes outside New Orleans — the destruction wrought by Hurricane Ida is bringing another, potentially more dangerous chapter. While Entergy has promised to restore power to nearly all of New Orleans by Wednesday, it makes no promises for the parishes south and west of the city, which could be without electricity for more than a month.

Rep Troy Carter, who represents New Orleans, said temperatures inside homes have regularly soared above 90°F. “The danger that [heat] has for senior citizens, young children, people with disabilities - it’s almost as dangerous as the hurricane itself,” he told Politico Pro.

“It’s a little bit unbearable,” Stephanie Crier, 81, told the New York Times. Sleep, especially, had been nearly impossible in the heat, she said. “If I could find somewhere to really lay down and stretch out, I might sleep all day and not wake up until the next day.”

Climate change caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels is supercharging hurricanes like Hurricane Ida and also making heatwaves more extreme.

As the extended outages drag on, one bright spot for those still without electricity came from a new FEMA determination that those who need a place to stay because of the prolonged power outages may now be eligible for housing assistance even if their home was otherwise undamaged — a change from earlier messaging.

(Outages: APPolitico Pro $, AP; Dangers: New York Times $, NBC; Residents forced to leave: AP; FEMA: Southerly Mag and The Lens; Climate Signals background: HurricanesExtreme heat and heatwaves)