On Sunday afternoon, winds damaged buildings in New Orleans, parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were flooded, and more than 400,000 people in Louisiana lost power.
At a press conference, President Joe Biden warned Americans to take the storm seriously.
“The storm is a deadly storm,” the president said. “And its devastation is likely to be immense. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. And so the most important thing I can say right now is that everyone, everyone should listen to the instructions of local and state officials, how dangerous it is. “
Meanwhile, thousands of people have fled the area after local and US weather officials warned of a “life-changing” storm.
“Ida made landfall as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and a minimum center pressure of 930 mb (27.46 inches),” said the National Hurricane Center in a statement. tweeter.
According to a Analyse CNN, these measurements mean Ida is tied with two other hurricanes for the record for the most powerful storm in Louisiana history. The other two storms are the island’s last hurricane of 1856 and Hurricane Laura of 2020. This also makes Louisiana the first state in history to experience hurricanes with winds over 150 mph in the wind. two consecutive years.
The storm has not yet reached New Orleans, but the city lies directly in its path.
TO press conference sunday, mayor LaToya Cantrell warned New Orleans residents to stay indoors.
“Now is the time to stay indoors,” Ms. Cantrell said. “Don’t venture outside. No visits. This is very serious. “
Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, said the state has been preparing for a storm like this since Hurricane Katrina, but Ida will always present a serious challenge.
The governor added that the hurricane comes at a very difficult time as hospitals in the state are already treating large numbers of people for Covid-19, making it difficult for them to care for new patients injured by the storm. .
In the 16 years since Katrina, the federal government has spent $ 14.5 billion on the construction of dikes, pumps, dikes, valves and drainage in and around New Orleans. As Ida approaches, some experts think the city is ready.
“The post-Katrina system is so different from what was in place before,” said Matt Roe, spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers.
But Ida will severely test this system. According to the National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the hurricane is likely to bring “extremely deadly storm surge”, “catastrophic wind damage”, power outages and “flash and urban flooding. potentially fatal ”in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has dispatched 2,400 of its employees to these states, as well as to Georgia, Florida and Texas.
Photos and videos posted online have already shown severe flooding, winds and storm surges. A video from Biloxi, Mississippi showed the flooded parking lot of a casino. A photo of New Orleans showed Highway 90 completely underwater.
The storm is also wreaking havoc on Louisiana’s power grid. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 442,900 people in the state were without power. An energy supplier, Entergy, said some customers will have to wait weeks for their electricity to be restored.
“Every storm is unique,” Entergy said on his website. “Based on historical restore times, customers in the direct path of a Category 4 hurricane may experience outages for up to three weeks and over three weeks for a Category 5 hurricane.”
Ida’s strongest winds are currently blowing at 150 mph. At 157 mph, it would become a Category 5 hurricane.