The Impact of Hurricane Idalia
By Reva Lingala
Hurricane Idalia was a category four hurricane that caused damage across the southern United States, particularly in Florida. The storm developed in the western Caribbean Sea, where it was categorized as a tropical storm on August 27th. On August 30th, Idalia hit the Big Bend region of Florida as a category four storm before decreasing to a category three. It then went through Georgia and parts of the Carolinas before passing Bermuda as a post-tropical cyclone
It is estimated that insured property loss is to run up to $9.36 billion. The storm has been less destructive than Hurricane Ian, which struck last September and led to $112 billion in damage. As the process to rebuild the infrastructure damaged, the question of whether or not to rebuild some areas has become the subject of much debate.
In the last six years, the Gulf Coast has been exposed to eight major hurricanes, and the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season hasn’t even peaked yet. Due to the effects of climate change, it is more than likely for there to be larger impacts from more powerful storms. This would cause more property damage and intense flooding, which is harmful for low-lying areas. Many insurance companies have started to pull out from the area, leaving homeowners and businesses with less options to rebuild and prepare for other storms. In Florida, the absence of major insurance companies has left the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation as the state’s last resort. Due to climate related disaster heightening, there have been concerns over spending federal and state money to rebuild areas that will be hit again.
This past Friday, President Biden asked Congress to approve another $4 billion in disaster aid. This is in addition to the $12 billion requested last month. Between wildfires in Maui, flooding in Vermont, and now damage from Idalia, there has been intense damage by natural disasters throughout the nation. In a statement, Biden claimed that he wanted to ensure there was funding “to deal with the immediate crises as well as our long-term commitments to the safety and security of the American people.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund currently has around $3.4 billion remaining. Its limited balance has forced the federal government to restrict when they might make use of these funds. FEMA administrator Deanne Criwell has also asked Congress to increase funding. Criswell says that Congress must work on the “request that the administration has made on behalf of FEMA.”
Passing the request for extra funding might be faced with significant problems in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that it is the top priority for Congress following their Labor Day recess. Biden has stressed that the issue of funding is a non-partisan issue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! My name is Reva and I am currently a senior in high school. I compete in speech and debate and mock trial which has led me to discover my passion for politics and law. I’ve always enjoyed writing which is why I decided to join Women in Politics. In my spare time I enjoy baking and going on walks.