As the (still life threatening) remnants of Hurricane Ida continue northeast, survivors of the storm in New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana are coming to terms with a different and dangerous reality: extreme heat for weeks on end without power. Heat is the top weather-related killer, annually and, as if on cue Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the area with a heat index of 106°F forecast for Wednesday. The NWS urged residents to “drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.” With nearly 800,000 people without running water or under a boil-water advisory, and a lack of power to charge phones.
A (potentially weeks-long) power outage was supposed to be prevented by a new gas plant built by Entergy, the local utility, despite calls for distributed renewable energy with battery storage backup instead. Entergy has a long history of opposing efforts to cut fossil fuel use and improve grid resiliency, despite knowing for decades that climate change caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels would pose an increasing threat to the grid by supercharging hurricanes like Ida. (Heat threats: Axios, AP, Washington Post $; Outages: New York Times $, Utility Dive, Democracy Now, E&E News, NBC, Entergy and its gas plant: Earther, Washington Post $; Climate Signals background: Hurricanes, 2021 Atlantic hurricane season)