Hurricane Ida both confirmed that we can plan and build to address climate change, and it was a wake-up call for how broad the need is, how quickly we need to act, and where we’ve underestimated our risk.
The pumps, dikes and levees protecting the City of New Orleans—which were dramatically strengthened after Hurricane Katrina—worked. Flooding within the city was minimized, as was loss of life. The performance of the flood protection measures was a triumph and illustrates that when we take risk seriously and invest in preparedness and resilience, we can succeed. However, Ida also highlighted the lack of similar investment and planning in other areas.
We’re used to thinking of hurricanes as a windspeed threat; the increasing flood threat they pose is something we are ill-prepared for.
The New Orleans power grid was the first major casualty of the storm