AccuWeather puts Hurricane Ida's economic impact at $95 billion, making Ida the seventh costliest hurricane to hit the U.S. since 2000.
Automotive dealerships are among the businesses hardest hit. Bridgewater Chevrolet in New Jersey reports around 200 vehicles on its lot are a total loss.
Their story plays out among dozens of dealerships in recovery mode after high winds and torrential downpours damaged buildings, took out electrical power, and caused flooding from Louisiana to New York. Some dealerships report their showrooms flooded as flood waters rose.
In fact, the National Weather Service issued its first-ever flash flood warnings for New York City and northeast New Jersey, after the storm dumped 6- to 8 inches of rain across the Northeast and produced multiple tornadoes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, according to the weather service.
High winds swept cars at Lexus of Bridgewater into trees while rushing water carried away furniture, printers, cabinets and cars at Bridgewater Chevrolet, which reportedly had about 60 new Chevrolets, at least that many customer cars and another 70 to 80 used vehicles on the property. The dealership told Automotive News sitting in 4+ feet of water for hours ruined the vehicles.
The store expects around 100 new vehicles in mid-September to replenish lost inventory. The company operates a Chevrolet store five miles down the same road, and a Buick-GMC store, allowing the dealership to keep serving customers.
Flooding in front of Lexus of Bridgewater got so intense that it overwhelmed vehicles driving by.
Flooding in front of the dealership was so intense that the waters overwhelmed vehicles driving by. Patch.com reported that one driver, Malathi Kanche, who was bringing her daughter home from Rutgers University, went missing in front of the dealership on Sept. 1 as she tried to escape her flooded vehicle.
Her daughter swam to the dealership, according to the report, but Kanche couldn’t swim and was still missing on September 3.
Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, reported flooding hit New Jersey dealerships hard. He estimated significant losses for at least 10 to 15 dealerships in the state, noting one dealer reported losing 150 vehicles.
A Tesla store in Paramus, N.J., reported major structural damage. Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera deemed the dealership a “total loss,” The Record reported.
New York dealerships fared a little better. Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, noted while dealerships did experience flooding, he hadn’t heard of any stores that could not operate because of infrastructure damage.
Ida struck Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. Here, cell service remains spotty, and hundreds of thousands of residents remained without power or running water late last week, Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association President Will Green said.
The storm affected many dealerships and thousands of dealership employees, he said. He noted several dealerships in the area suffered severe impacts.