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.