Hurricane Ida: Bailing Out


Hurricane Ida

Katie Strutton, Contributing Writer

Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida had vast and diverse effects throughout the East Coast. Some people came out of Hurricane Ida completely unscathed, but others were set back several hundred thousands of dollars in losses. Hurricane Ida created very different realities for people even a few houses apart. Within Hastings there were many different stories and experiences with regard to Hurricane Ida. To learn more, I interviewed two families from Hastings about their experiences.

The Caspers’ Story

Ben and Lorena Casper, who live on Ridgedell Avenue, experienced flooding that they considered very minor compared to the experiences of people around them. Hurricane Ida brought water into their house through two entrances. First, water entered through many minor leaks in their kitchen, but none were as intense as their  neighbor’s kitchen “waterfall”, that they described as water gushing in from their stove vent. The majority of their water came into their house through their basement, where they had two large leaks. Water was literally coming out of the walls. Ben Casper compared the flooding to a faucet turned all the way on and gushing out water. Once it started, he said, there was no stopping the leaks.  All in all, the Caspers accumulated about two inches of water in their basement.  Some of the water receded back into the ground, but the Caspers were forced to pump some out. They also said that their basement was very old, and that it had probably never been renovated. Fortunately, there was  no permanent damage. This type of story was fairly common in Hastings during Ida, but a far less common story of a Hurricane Ida flood comes from the other side of town.


The Lassers’ Story

Flooding in the Lassers’ Driveway

The Lassers live in a neighborhood that slopes inward and downward, making a bowl shape. They live in the lower part of their neighborhood, and they have a garage under their house with a ramp that slopes down into the ground. The Lassers’ recognised the flood risk and installed several sump pumps that pump to dry wells, to help remove the water from their house. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, their dry wells didn’t start working until the morning after Ida. The Lassers suspected that the dry wells were full from prior storms and that there was nowhere for the water to go. They were up until three a.m. dealing with the four-and-a-half feet of water in their basement, although there was very little they could  do about it. Their garage had two cars in it, and their basement had multiple televisions, a treadmill,  and other valuable items when Ida hit. The night Ida came, they had crossed their fingers that the water wouldn’t rise any further, because they knew that it was very close to the electric panel in their basement. Practically all of the contents of their basement were destroyed, excluding things that water doesn’t affect or that were high up. Unfortunately, the cars were ruined, and all of the drywall had to be replaced. According to sophomore, Sonya Lasser, there was a lawn mower stored in one room, with the door closed, that ended in another room, with the door still closed. Floods do mysterious things. It took over a month for their basement to be redone. On the upside, Sonya says that their ping pong table survived.

Ida’s impact was truly unprecedented, but one benefit of natural disasters like this one is that they often bring people together. Whether people donate to a food pantry, or run electric cords across the street for their neighbors without power, people’s generosity often comes to the surface. In these times Humanity’s ability to persevere and help each other often gets us through hard times, and this is no different. Hopefully, we can prevent such harsh floods in the future, but until then we will continue to bail each other out.