YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana as one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States.
- Brazil is steadily losing its surface water, a recent survey found.
- Hurricane Nora hits Mexico as a Category 1 storm.
- As water supplies dwindle, Syria is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, aid groups warn.
The Detroit metro area flooded once again this summer as residents express exhaustion with officials lack of response to the area’s aging sewage system.
“You think after the first one they’d fix it. But it’s happened four times… it’s a river every time.” – Ali Shara, a Detroit resident. After another bout of heavy rainfall flooded freeways, neighborhoods, and homes in the Detroit metro area, residents say they are exhausted with an inadequate response from officials. The Detroit Free Press reports that although officials were quick to warn residents about flooding from rain on Friday, aging infrastructure did nothing to stop the city’s drainage system from overflowing.
- Why it matters: Extreme rain events are becoming heavier and more frequent in wetter areas like Detroit. Between 1958 and 2012, the heaviest one percent of storms in the Midwest became 37 percent more powerful. After six inches of rain battered the Detroit metro area in late June, Circle of Blue reported that officials attributed some of the damage to power outages in the city’s pumping system, which ordinarily redirects standing water from the freeway into surrounding rivers. But even after the system regained power, they had nowhere to pump the new water.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
In Case You Missed It:
HotSpots H2O: Flash Floods and Landslides Devastate Western Venezuela – Torrential rain fell relentlessly this past week in western Venezuela.
What’s Up With Water – August 30, 2021 – This week’s episode covers plans to build seawater desalination plants in Egypt, a potential storage site for nuclear waste near Lake Huron in Canada, and new research that found that climate change is behind the intensity of deadly storms that hit Germany and Belgium last month.
Special Report: Hurricane Ida Makes Landfall in Louisiana With Devastating Force
One of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S. mainland, Hurricane Ida made landfall along the coast of Louisiana Sunday afternoon, the same day that marked the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Unlike during Katrina, however, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said that levees along the state’s coast help up during Ida. Still, the governor said, damage from the storm is widespread. “We have water systems that are out,” Edwards said. “We have tremendous damage to homes and to businesses.”
The Associated Press reports that the storm knocked out power for more than one million customers in Louisiana and Mississippi, including the entire city of New Orleans. Entergy, the major utility provider in Louisiana, said on Sunday in a press release that some customers could be out of power for up to three weeks.
Before the storm hit, hospitals in Louisiana were already struggling to control a fourth surge of Covid-19. Now, four Louisiana hospitals have reported damage and 39 medical facilities are operating on generator power, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Associated Press reports that the Lady of the Sea General Hospital in Lafourche Parish reported extensive roof damage. Another Lafourche Parish hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, reported partial generator failure to the state. Gov. Edwards said that instead of evacuating all of the state’s healthcare facilities, officials are focused on making sure there is enough generator power and water at hospitals so they can keep up with vital patient needs such as providing oxygen or powering ventilators.
Early Monday morning, Ida downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the New York Times. Officials warn that the storm system still poses a danger to many parts of the Southeast, and could bring as much as 24 inches of rain to parts of southeast Louisiana. Other areas, like Southern Mississippi, southwest Alabama, and the eastern Florida Panhandle, could also experience tornadoes on Monday. Throughout the week, the storm system will move northeast throughout the United States, threatening places like Middle Tennessee, where 20 people were killed this month from flash floods.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
A recent survey in Brazil found that the country has steadily lost 15 percent of its surface water since 1991. According to reports from the Associated Press, data from the survey only went through 2020 – before this year’s drought which is Brazil’s worst in nine decades. Although the study doesn’t establish the extent to which the country’s retreating water resulted from natural causes, experts have warned human activity is causing more frequent and severe droughts and floods.
60 MPH (95 KPH)
Hurricane Nora hit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, over the weekend as a Category 1 storm. Reuters reports that the storm moved through the tourist town with 60 mph (95 kph) winds that caused a building to partially collapse, killing one boy. The storm system is predicted to continue to weaken as it moves across the west coast of Mexico throughout the week.
ON THE RADAR
Aid groups and engineers are warning of a looming humanitarian disaster in northeast Syria, where water on the Euphrates River continues to dwindle. Reporting from Al Jazeera found that decreasing water levels at hydroelectric dams are threatening water and power cutoffs for up to five million Syrians amid both the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.
Jane is a Communications Associate for Circle of Blue. She writes The Stream and has covered domestic and international water issues for Circle of Blue. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time outdoors.