Hurricane Ida is headed towards the U.S. after slamming Cuba on Friday. According to The Washington Post, the hurricane is predicted to make landfall in Louisiana on August 29, which marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As you may remember, Katrina claimed the lives of almost 2,000 people in 2005 and destroyed more than 100,000 homes in New Orleans.
Ida quickly intensified from a tropical storm to a hurricane as it moved over Cuba. Its top winds rose to 80 mph by Friday afternoon. By the time it reaches Louisiana on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center predicts Ida will be “an extremely dangerous major hurricane.” Projections show the hurricane will feature top winds at 140 mph, flooding rain and a 15-foot ocean surge, bringing its strength to a Category 4.
“This will be a life-altering storm for those who aren’t prepared,” National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Scott said during a Friday press conference.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards urged residents to use the next 24 hours to prepare for the hurricane. He advised that everyone should be where they “intend to ride out the storm” by Saturday night. In addition, Gov. John declared a state of emergency across the state to free resources in preparation. Soon after, President Joe Biden issued a federal state of emergency in the state.
New Orleans Mayor LaToy Cantrell ordered a mandatory evacuation for people living outside of the city’s levee protection system. Called the Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, it’s a system of levees, pumps and flood gates to protect New Orleans from storm surges. According to The Washington Post, officials spent $14.5 billion building it after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. A mandatory evacuation was not issued for inside the system given the time frame of the approaching hurricane.
On the other hand, areas outside of the system are at serious risk from the pending surge. According to the National Weather Service, those areas could experience “[w]idespread deep inundation,” “structural damage to buildings, many washing away,” “roads washed out or severely flooded,” “extreme beach erosion,” and “massive damage to marinas.”
Ida is heading to Louisiana less than a year after being hit by three, back-to-back hurricanes, including Category 3 Laura in August and Delta and Zeta in October. Collectively, the storms reportedly caused “$27 billion in damage.”
In addition to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama will reportedly also be directly impacted by Ida.
Check out the press conference by Gov. John Bel Edwards below:
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