Gustav sets up next round of wind v water cases

Rebecca Mowbray’s latest story – Winds more widespread in Gustav – confirms what many were guessing.

Although Gustav was not as severe as Katrina, more Louisiana households experienced hurricane-force winds this week than in the 2005 storm, a researcher who has done work for Entergy said Friday, as the utility remained under fire for widespread power outages.

Researcher Greg Rigamer said 51.4 percent of Louisiana residents experienced hurricane-force winds during Gustav’s wide-ranging trek across the state, compared with 39 percent of residents during Katrina.

“The impact of Gustav was far greater in the state of Louisiana than Katrina. While Katrina was more severe, Gustav was more expansive,” Rigamer said. “Gustav had a significant footprint.”

With much of Louisiana literally still in the dark, those of us outside the state are better able to see the extent of wind damage.  I’ll add links to some of the reports I’ve read in comments; but, first, more from Mowbray’s story and how Gustav makes the case for immediate passage of HR3121.

Rigamer said he did not produce the work for Entergy, but he was the lead speaker on Entergy’s storm conference call Friday afternoon. He said he thought his research would help support potential requests for federal assistance.

As the company races to reconnect its grid, Entergy has not said how much Gustav will cost, how it will affect customers or whether it will seek federal assistance as it did after Katrina.

“We’re still focused on restoration, and we haven’t begun to estimate the costs of the storm,” said Renae Conley, president and chief executive of Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana.

Restoration work progressed Friday, with 485,000 Entergy customers, or 59 percent of those who lost power, regaining electricity since the storm.

All customers in New Orleans, Metairie and Kenner should have power by early next week, and all customers in St. John the Baptist Parish should have electricity by Wednesday, Entergy said. Meanwhile, customers in lower Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Plaquemines parishes might have to wait until Sept. 15 for all households to be restored.

In New Orleans, all 22 substations have been brought back online, and power has been restored to 70 percent of customers…

The company is also working to get the nuclear plants that provide low-cost power to customers around the state back online. Entergy’s Waterford nuclear power station in Taft will restart today, but the siding of the Riverbend nuclear plant near St. Francisville was damaged in the storm and needs to be repaired

While it might be easy to blame Entergy for the widespread power failures, Midura said, repairing damaged transmission lines is a huge undertaking. She said it is not fair to judge the utility’s progress against wind speed in New Orleans because the problems originated with massive lines closer to the main swath of storm damage. (emphasis mine)

It’s hard for me not to think about the engineering reports and the related research I did recently before posting Wind damage really sucks – literally – in a hurricane.

The lack of power translates to the very difficult job of properly adjusting claims that HR3121 would resolve and reminds us that even Dorothy came back from Oz to the reality of Kansas.  It’s past time for the insurance industry to put on its red shoes and follow.

Passing HR3121 wouldn’t end discussion.  What it would do, instead, is end the competing priorities of protecting vulnerable citizens and a vulnerable industry and move the needs of the insurance industry to the top of the list.

4 thoughts on “Gustav sets up next round of wind v water cases”

  1. Links to Gustav reports:

    More pictures of damage like the one I inserted in the post

    Slightly over 480,000 customers without power

    The count of customers don’t have electricity in Louisiana and Arkansas because of Hurricane Gustav has dropped below 500,000. Entergy has just over 400,000 customers out in Louisiana and Arkansas.Cleco reports 39,000 customers out in Louisiana, while Slemco is down to 3,900.
    Baton Rouge’s other major power provider – Demco – has cut its outages to about 49,000.

    At its height, Gustav had knocked out power to at least 1.1 million power customers in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Power companies are warning though that they might not find out about other outages until storm evacuees return home.

    farmers have taken a significant blow thanks to Gustav.

    Damaged homes are getting most of the attention throughout Acadiana but farmers have taken a significant blow thanks to Gustav. Crops like beans, rice and especially sugar cane; a 600 million dollar industry in Louisiana could lose a large amount of business after the storm damaged many of those crops. Farmers harvest was scheduled to begin this week but due to the storm that’s being pushed back later in the month.

    Sugar cane farmers are expecting to lose up to 40% of their crops estimating over a 180 million dollars lost.

    Governor Jindal criticized FEMA food distribution

    Gov. Bobby Jindal late Friday criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency for coming up short in the delivery of food and other provisions to distribution centers for Louisiana residents left in the dark from Hurricane Gustav.

    Jindal said FEMA officials told him they would have 160 trucks delivering tarps, bags of ice, cases of ready-to-eat meals and cases of bottled water in the state for distribution at dozens of centers, but only 45 showed up. “It is not acceptable for our people,” Jindal said, adding that he expressed his displeasure to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, whose office oversees FEMA.

    makes arrangements to address food problem

    Gov. Bobby Jindal Friday asked the state’s elementary schools, high schools and colleges Friday to pitch in temporarily to serve hot meals for evacuees returning home as well as those in the areas hit hard by Hurricane Gustav who still do not have power.

    Jindal said he has called on the schools to provide the meals through their contract food services because the Federal Emergency Management Agency has not been able to keep distribution centers properly stocked with ready-to-eat meals, water, ice and tarps to meet the demands of citizens who are without electrical power.

  2. The Ladder had this update on cat bonds

    Catastrophe bonds, used by investors to bet against natural disasters, fell for the first time since March as Hurricane Gustav lashed Louisiana, Tropical Storm Hanna headed for the Carolinas and another storm, Ike, approached Florida.

    The Swiss Re Cat Bond Total Return Index lost 0.3 percent from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, its first weekly decline since floods inundated the U.S. Midwest more than five months ago. The decline means investors believe insurers may collect money on the bonds, which they sell to protect against losses.

    Insurers use cat bonds to spread some of their biggest risks among investors…Ike was a Category 3 hurricane…The system may cut through the Bahamas starting on Sept. 7 before slamming into the Florida Keys on Sept. 9, the National Hurricane Center said.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator David Paulison compared Ike with Hurricane Andrew because like that storm, which devastated South Florida in 1992, it’s compact and powerful. “It could be very dangerous,” he told reporters on a conference call yesterday. “We’re going to be watching it very closely.”

    and one on oil production as well.

    Hurricane Gustav may not have lived up to his hype, but the storm sure did a number on oil production.

    Four days after the storm blew through central Louisiana, 90.5% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline, according to the Minerals Management Service. Natural-gas production is doing only slightly better, with 79.8% still shut-in.

    To put that in perspective, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina, at its peak, knocked out only 95% of oil production and 88% of gas production. Four days after the storm, 89% of oil production and 72% of gas production was still offline. In other words, Gustav has so far had a greater impact on gulf production than Katrina did

  3. I live in Jefferson Pariswh on the West Bank in Terrytown. And I returned today September 6, 2008 to find that part of my shingles were blown off my roof due to Huricane Gustuv. After calling the blueroof number I found out that we do not qualify for the program, Why is this??????????????

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