After leveling the great state of Texas, then barging it’s way through surrounding Louisiana, Hurricane Ike has wreaked more havoc than any other Hurricane to hit land in the United States. On Sunday September 14, the first day of power outage in Louisville, KY, many residents were forced to relive days when electricity and transportation were in the early stages of life. Gas prices rose from $3.60 a gallon to $4.15 a gallon overnight, and the shortage of fuel caused chaos at every station that had power. Cell phone usage was at an all time high, when the system was not jammed and calls could be completed.
Everyone believed that the power would be back shortly as the Category 1 hurricane winds of 75 mph forced past the Louisville International Airport. The local gas and electric company, LG&E, has said it will take as long as 10-14 days of outage before they can restore power to all who were hit. The state governor Steve Beshear has rallied for a reformulated gas pardon good until the 30 of September to bring in gasoline that is not necessarily up to air standards. This would bring relief to the thousands without fuel who continue up and down the streets in search for the last few drops available.
Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson has partnered with Steve Beshear to bring the Kentucky National Guard in to help with the clean up, and to aid the public at traffic lights for congested areas. At the onset of the outage, over 80% of the state was without power. At this time, the number has dropped to less than 129,000 homes still dark. LG&E has workers from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and a few surrounding states helping hometown workers around the clock to restore service to as many as possible.
Dare to Care food banks have been opened at many locations throughout the city, and the Red Cross has set up meals on wheels for residents who have no power. Due to the long time outage that is now upon it’s 6th day, most have lost all refrigerated food and must rely on outside sources to eat. Dare to Care hands out 2 grocery bags of dry goods to residents in return for their name and number of persons in the home. Those on the Food Stamp program are now able to go to the L&N building to request a replacement amount equal to the cost of food they lost due to the outage.
With gasoline and groceries closed, the economy in Louisville is at a stand still. Public schools have closed for an entire week, and the Nation’s largest shipper, UPS, has cancelled some of its shifts. Shively, PRP, Downtown and the East End are the hardest hit in this natural disaster. So far there are 2 deaths related to this storm, a small boy hit by a tree limb and a woman using a generator inside her home passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning. There have been worse storms on record for Louisville, but no greater damage is known on the records for such a widespread area.