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Hurricane Ida Hits D.C. Area

Image courtesy of NBC Washington (Drew Angerer)

By Tess Rempel

On Wednesday, September 1, Hurricane Ida traveled across the country, causing record-setting rainfall, tornadoes, and floods in the Washington, D.C. area. With roads closed, buildings flooded, and people killed, its impacts are still lingering.

Almost a year to the date following a tornado in Annapolis, Maryland, reporters, citizens, and politicians alike are overwhelmed. “I’ve lived here 60 years in the county and I don’t ever remember seeing anything like this…I think our biggest role is to figure out where this came from and why it came now,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. 

According to Washington’s Top News (WTOP), the same three houses that were hit from last year’s tornadoes in Edgewater, Maryland, also suffered damage from Hurricane Ida.  

“This morning, I toured storm damage in Edgewater with state and local officials. The extent of the destruction is devastating, and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Governor Larry Hogan tweeted

According to the National Weather Service, the amount of rain that fell at the Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport was record-breaking. It stopped at 4.13 inches, in comparison to the historic high of 3.96 inches in 1952. The Monocacy River in Frederick County, Maryland, reached 22 feet – a record height held since 1979. Water on roadways reached up to 8 inches of rain in that same county, resulting in over 22 water rescue calls and 56 flooding calls to first responders. 

The downpour from Hurricane Ida killed 19-year-old Melkin Daniel Cedillo of Rockville, Maryland, and displaced 150 other residents of the Rock Creek Woods apartment complex in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to Fox News, his family believes that he died trying to save his mother, who cannot swim. 

“…Water was almost up to the entire ceiling level when crews got here,” said Montgomery County Fire Rescue Chief Scott Goldstein. 

At least 50 other people from Virginia to Connecticut reportedly died during the storm. 

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Despite the weather improving by Friday morning, the storm left people not only displaced, but also stranded. Amtrak train services remained cancelled from D.C. to Boston, and the Virginia Railway Express cancelled four Manassas lines. With various roads still closed, many had no option but to wait at Union Station for lines to reopen.

Hurricane Ida has Democrats pushing for the passage of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan, the first bill to devote money for “climate resilience”, harder than ever before. 

“I hope this storm is a reminder to all our elected officials: This is what climate change looks like,” Potosnak said

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a climate report on Saturday, August 7, 2021. The report reads “…the frequency of extreme temperature and precipitation events in the current climate will change, with…precipitation extremes becoming more frequent in most locations.” 

In a global climate emergency, Hurricane Ida is far from a passing threat; as the secretary-general of the United Nations said, it is a “code red for humanity”.

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