Ida Evacuees Face Unexpected Bills
FEMA is helping Louisiana with thousands in aid.
A week after Hurricane Ida tore through Louisiana, many are worried about paying evacuation bills — from rental cars to hotel rooms.
"We spent the majority of our money on hotels," said Michael Ricks.
He still has storm anxiety after staying for Hurricane Katrina. He had to be rescued then.
He says there's no way he was staying for Ida.
But he now faces another disaster of sorts — a financial one.
"I think everybody started off with at the $150 hotels now if you can get a motel. You know people are there," Ricks said. "I was financially prepared. I was calling my leaving home an evacu-cation."
Sheree Camel says she thought it would just be a 3-day trip. Days later, she says she’s already spent over $700 — just on her hotel room.
"Monday, when we decided we're going to have to say we found out that the price is going up to 120 i think $128 for the price double," she said.
People can go back home, but in many cases local officials are asking people not to. The power is still out.
Ida smashed several transmission towers, cutting off electricity to many gas stations and grocery stores.
The sewage system was also affected by the power outage. People are being asked not to use washing machines, dishwashers and to take showers instead of baths.
"And we're paying very close attention to the power restoration efforts and fuel shortages," said Gerry Stolar with FEMA.
Now hundreds of thousands of Louisiana residents are stuck with mounting evacuation debt. It's a catch-22 for many evacuees. Many of them didn't have the money to evacuate in the first place.
FEMA stepped in to help pay some of those evacuation fees.
"None of this goes as fast as any of us would like especially for those who've been impacted by the storm," Stolar said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says they have over $76 million dollars for Louisiana. That money can be used for things like temporary housing, food, prescriptions or even gas — for those who qualify.
Still, many are upset they had to front the initial cost to stay so many extra days.
"It's just so unfair," Ricks said. "So unfair not just to me and my family, but every family that calls the city of New Orleans home."
Ricks says he checked out of his hotel. He and several other family members are staying with relatives now. But he says he's ready to get home.
Mount Washington to reach wind chills of -100F, as cold as Mars
The Mars Curiosity rover has recorded nighttime temperatures in recent days of 105 degrees below zero. Temperatures don't often get that low on Earth.By Robert F. Bukaty / AP
Minus-60 wind chills expected for some states this weekend
When wind chills reach minus 25, frostbite can occur in 15 minutes.By Tony Gutierrez / AP
Punxsutawney Phil makes his 2023 Groundhog Day prediction
Since 1887, people have gathered outside Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see Phil make his prediction.By Barry Reeger / AP
30-year-old pup Bobi sets new world record for oldest living dog
Guinness is calling this good boy the oldest dog ever.By Guinness World Records
Dozens of soldiers freed in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap
Top Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said in a Telegram post that 116 Ukrainians were freed.By Evgeniy Maloletka / AP
50-car train derailment causes big fire, evacuations in Ohio
Freezing temperatures in the single digits complicated firefighter response as trucks pumping water froze.By Melissa Smith via AP