The Gulf Coast continues to struggle with the fallout from Hurricane Ida. Heavy rains likely weakened the support structure of a Mississippi bridge on Monday night, police said. At least two people were killed and 10 were injured as seven vehicles plunged over the open expanse.
Drivers likely didn’t notice the bridge was out until going over, a Mississippi state trooper told Fox News. The road grade, as well as bad conditions, would have obscured their view as they approached the Highway 26 bridge in Lucedale.
State civil engineers and police will investigate the cause of the collapse. However, heavy rains likely played a role. The National Weather Service said more than 8 inches of rain fell on the area in less than a few hours after Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday. The area was under a flash flood watch until Tuesday morning because of the heavy rains.
Police told CNN that the hole in the roadway measured some 50-feet long and 20-feet deep. Rescue crews had to bring in a crane to remove the vehicles.
More than 1 million people remained without power on Tuesday along the Gulf Coast. Flooding and rescue operations have slowed efforts to return power to large sections of Louisiana and Mississippi.
“I can’t tell you when the power is going to be restored. I can’t tell you when all the debris is going to be cleaned up and repairs made,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday. “But what I can tell you is we are going to work hard every day to deliver as much assistance as we can.”
Families in the areas Hurricane Ida decimated are struggling to get by with little drinking water or food, Mississippi pastor Chad Ducote told the Associated Press.
Hurricane Ida Disrupts Fuel Production
Officials have blamed Hurricane Ida for four deaths across the Gulf Coast despite its high winds and heavy rain. Along with those deaths Monday night, a tree fell on a man Sunday as the storm made landfall. A man drowned in his car as storm surges overtook his vehicle, CBS said. An alligator hiding in floodwaters attacked a man Monday, his wife told police. Rescue workers are still searching for his body, however.
One of the major fallouts may still be ahead for some as people wait to see what impact it will have on fuel prices. The Daily Mail reported that Hurricane Ida interrupted production at 95 percent of oil refineries along the Gulf Coast. Some were back online Tuesday, but a crucial pipeline remained shut down. Production may be interrupted for two to four weeks, experts say.
How this will affects fuel prices in the U.S. is unclear. The Gulf Coast produces about 15 percent of the country’s daily consumption. However, experts actually expected the storm’s impact to be far worse.
“The reaction is mixed because we avoided the worst-case scenario,” Again Capital John Kilduff told CNBC. “But supplies are tight, and that could impact prices, especially since we are moving into the peak period for storms. Weather worries are going to persist around the market for the next several weeks. As for supply, the cupboard was kind of bare going into this.”
The price of a gallon of gas was $3.15 per gallon on Monday, which was down a penny from the week before, AAA said.