Storm watch: Hurricane Ida's impact on consumers and businesses across industries

Thursday, September 2, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Center of the storm... Hurricane Ida reached the US Gulf Coast on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane. For context: Category 5 is the highest. It's the most intense hurricane Louisiana has suffered since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Ida has already led to six deaths, and left 1M+ people without power.

From small businesses to energy giants... Ida's impact is far-reaching. Damage to the power grid and other infrastructure has been intense — even more than Katrina's in some cases.

  • Electricity: The entire city of New Orleans lost power after all of its transmission lines were knocked out. Restoring full power and A/C could take weeks, though Entergy — which provides electricity to 3M customers in LA, MS, AK and TX — says it's already been restored for 100K people.
  • Oil and gas: Gas prices are rising after Ida shut down a critical swath of US oil operations, including more than 90% of production in the Gulf of Mexico. Big deal, since Louisiana’s 17 oil refineries account for 20% of the US' capacity.
  • Insurance: The insurance industry expects Ida damages to be in the range of $15B-20B, compared to $65B for Katrina. But that's just insured losses — aka: not the total value of damages. CoreLogic estimates that ~1M homes could be damaged, totaling $220B in reconstruction costs. And insurance costs are already rising for high-impact areas and homes with older roofs.

It can take years to bounce back... from natural disasters. A hurricane might only last a week, but the damage it causes can take years — or decades — to repair. New Orleans has still not fully recovered from Katrina, and we don’t yet know what Ida’s total toll could be. Meanwhile, CA is experiencing extreme heat-fueled wildfires. Climate experts say these extreme natural events could worsen as the planet continues to warm.