It’s true, especially for hurricanes, that no two storms are alike. Even a water firm like Rytech, with decades of experience working catastrophes all over the country, should always anticipate the unanticipated.
Hurricane Ida was no different–posing new barriers in an already convoluted storm effort.
On August 29 Hurricane Ida lashed Louisiana–landfalling near Port Fourchon as an “extremely dangerous” Cat-4 and sustained winds over 150 mph. It coincided with the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which came ashore August 29, 2005. And Ida tied Hurricane Laura (2020) and the Last Island Hurricane (1856) as the strongest to ever hit Louisiana and was the 5th strongest weather event to ever strike the continental United States.
The fragile levee’s strengthened and rebuilt after Katrina held fast against Ida’s peak storm surge of just under 8 feet. But, regrettably, that’s the only good news.
Holden LeBlanc, owner of three Rytech Louisiana Franchises (Lake Charles, New Orleans and Baton Rouge) has seen hurricane’s before and has volunteered for storm duty when franchises in other states needed help. He knows what to expect and how important it is to Rytech’s carrier partners to have a strong, consistent and timely storm plan.
But Ida’s challenges were not only profound, they were unique. In addition to the usual debris-strewn streets and occasional flash floods, more than one million Louisiana homes and businesses were without power–a circumstance complicated by widespread cellphone failure.
As well, Ida damaged 94 percent of oil and gas production in offshore Gulf of Mexico facilities.
Rainfall up to 3 inches per hour gripped New Orleans. Several flash flood emergencies unfolded and continued as the storms’ “wetness” surprised those in other Rytech states. Due to a unique convergence of weather patterns, Rytech states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York were imperiled days after the system hit the Gulf Coast — some 1,000 miles away.
Simultaneously, west coast fires were equally impacting. All on the heels of a Texas Freeze event that required assistance from 10 non-Texas Rytech Franchises: Mobile, Atlanta, Central Florida, Tallahassee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Orange County and Riverside California.
Water emergencies in Louisiana continue to need service as power outages caused significant delays. Crews from California, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama, continue their work, day-in and day-out, to get as many home and business sites as possible “Rytech Dry.”
One example of Ida’s unique challenge was personnel. Out-of-state franchisee’s looking to respond still had to deal with the universal staffing challenges of Covid-19–directly impacting their efforts to mobilize. At Rytech, staffing is paramount and the first order of business for every locale is to first ensure adequate resources at home.
Testament to the value of a national reach is the role Rytech’s home office plays in every catastrophe, no matter how small or localized. Initial corporate communications focus on potential impact and the need for out-of-town help and early alerts to volunteers who must plan, pack and travel. Post storm communications reach fever pitch regarding claim volume, territory assignments for out-of-state responders, overall capacities, and liaisons with insurers, TPA’s and more. It’s all part of Team Rytech.
Rytech offers prayers and thoughts for those still impacted by the storm and for its employees, franchise workers, customers and partners who are struggling mightily to recuperate from Ida’s wrath.
We won’t stop until all the work is done!