After Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana and triggered deadly storms across the Northeast, cities and beach towns that swarmed with tourists just days ago are now grappling with catastrophic flood damage.
Ida is tied for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mainland, and is responsible for at least 26 deaths across three states. After the Big Easy and Gulf coast took a beating from the Category Four storm, it moved north and sent rainwater gushing in eye-popping waterfalls down the subways of the the Big Apple.
Did your favorite vacation spot make it through?
New Orleans, Louisiana
Ida first made landfall in the U.S. in Louisiana, hitting the state on the anniversary of the devastating 2005 storm Hurricane Katrina. However, New Orleans, renowned as a tourist destination for its music, food and scenery, fared far better against Hurricane Ida’s high winds and torrential rainfall. The city’s improved levee system, constructed after Katrina, held up and prevented another major tragedy. However, except for the French Quarter, many in New Orleans remain without power, and the storm has exacerbated Louisiana’s struggle to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The city likely won’t be ready to host vacationers for some time.
It was a sad week for music festival fans. Weather and flooding from the hurricane forced organizers to cancel Bonnaroo, a popular festival held outside of Nashville that was supposed to be headlined by Lizzo,Tyler, the Creator and the Foo Fighters. The country music capital of the nation saw major flash floods during the storm — the National Weather Service reported that the city saw nearly two and a half inches of rain every half an hour — as well as high-speed wins and major power outages. Persisting floods and debris hindered recovery efforts, but Nashville is still powering ahead with some major upcoming events including a men’s soccer World Cup qualifying game Sept. 5.
The Jersey Shore, New Jersey
New Jersey was battered by severe thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, widespread flooding and even isolated tornados Wednesday. The state’s iconic beach towns were primarily impacted by flooding, but they escaped the disastrous damage that past storms like Hurricane Sandy have caused. Because the storm came from the west, inland counties were hit more severely than the coastline. If you’re hoping to hit the boardwalk over Labor Day weekend, there are still plenty of shows and concerts scheduled to continue as planned.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
As Hurricane Ida continued on its path through the northeast, Massachusetts was one of the last states hit, so it dealt with a lower level of severity than those that were hit when the storm was at full strength. However, the Cape was under a tornado warning around 2 a.m. ET on Thursday and the National Weather Service’s flash flood warnings continued until the late morning. There were also widespread power outages overnight, but the turnaround was quick and many had been resolved already by this morning.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
As Hurricane Ida looped up towards the Atlantic Ocean the southwest side of Virginia was pummeled by rain and wind, but popular vacation town Virginia Beach’s southeastern corner of the state escaped damage, falling just outside of the storm’s path. The area saw only scattered rain and thunderstorms.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Like in Virginia, the hurricane spared Delaware’s signature beach town from suffering any major damage while hitting the northern areas of the state more strongly. Rehoboth was struck with flooding and thunderstorms that much of the mid-Atlantic region experienced, but the NWS is projecting that the skies will be completely clear by Thursday night. That leaves a good chunk of time for lingering flooding to dry out before the holiday on Monday.
Contact Emily Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eaadams6.