Hurricane Ian touched down in Florida on Wednesday, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Although the storm has since left land, it will return on Friday to South Carolina. Meteorologists expect the storm to make its way as far north as West Virginia. A Category 4 hurricane, Ian has disrupted the US supply chain and taken a large human toll, prompting a response from the Biden Administration.
The US Supply Chain, Already Hurting, Has Taken a Major Hit from Hurricane Ian
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans had never heard the term “supply chain.” However, this term has been around since at least 1905. Many Americans became aware of the term because of the massive disruptions the pandemic caused. After years of hearing about it, the supply chain is now a regular part of American discourse. As a result, supply chain concerns are dominating the national conversation as Hurricane Ian wreaks havoc on the eastern seaboard.
The Port of Jacksonville, one of the Southeast’s largest ports, closed on Wednesday. It won’t reopen until it gets the green light from the National Guard, which could come weeks from now. It isn’t the only port that is facing closures, either, as most major ports in Florida have either closed completely or partially. Other major ports in neighboring states, like Savannah and Charleston, will likely see disruptions as the storm moves north.
Of course, the hurricane is also destroying roads, bridges, and homes. Though we won’t know the full extent of the damage until the storm dissipates, experts expect Ian to be one of the costliest storms on record for the US. Its price tag may eventually go as high as $70 billion.
Biden’s Response Highlighted Quick Action
The Biden Administration made preparations before the hurricane even touched down in Florida. In fact, the White House’s response began all the way back on September 24. On that day, the President issued a pre-landfall emergency declaration, which allowed the Fed to begin preparing its logistical response. The Fed is providing Florida with nearly 2,000 response personnel, including search and rescue, medical, and engineering teams.
One of the more notable (and unprecedented) things that Biden did was to urge oil and gas companies not to gouge consumers. The crazy cost of gas and diesel from earlier this year is still fresh in Americans’ minds. On Wednesday, the President urged major oil companies to have some compassion for Americans who are still suffering from record inflation and the high cost of living. Even if people aren’t being displaced by the hurricane, Americans are still struggling to get by.