Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana with “catastrophic” winds of at least 150 miles per hour

Dangerous Hurricane Ida made landfall for the first time this Sunday at noon in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of at least 150 mph (241 kph), classified as “catastrophic”, as reported by the National Hurricane Center (NHC for its acronym in English).

Storm surge is forecast for the next few hours at 12 to 16 feet at Port Fourchon, explained Daniel Llargués, spokesman for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in a call with the press this Sunday.

It’s a storm “very dangerous and very intense”, Llargués said, “if you didn’t evacuate, stay in a safe place.”

At 2 pm (Central Time) Ida made landfall for the second time in Galliano, Louisiana, with winds of 145 mph. “Hurricane conditions are spreading inland through the southeast” of the state, announced the NHC on the social network Twitter.

President Joe Biden spoke from FEMA headquarters about the situation. “The devastation can be immense, and the governor has said that this is the strongest hurricane since 1850 … It is not just the coast, it is the north as well.”

Biden urged the population to listen to the indications of the local authorities and assured that “as soon as the storm passes we will put all the power of the country for the recovery.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told a news conference that people will likely have to shelter where they are for about 72 hours after the hurricane strikes.

“We do not anticipate any of the levees in New Orleans to be overrun,” Edwards said. The city’s levees are of particular concern, as they did not hold up 16 years ago with the onslaught of Category 3 Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the city has installed new levees and new technologies to prepare for an event of this magnitude. said the governor. “It is another time … it is not that we are confident, it is a fact”, that they are not going to break or exceed, he added.

A news crew reports on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain before Hurricane Ida makes landfall in New Orleans, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

Sunday overnight Ida became a Category 4 hurricane in record time, and was only 7 miles per hour (11 kph) away from becoming a Category 5, the most destructive on the scale, enough to rip off roofs from houses and trees. root. With gusts up to 180 mph (290 kph), it would be the strongest hurricane to hit the state of Louisiana.

Therefore, the NHC issued the maximum wind alert for a hurricane and warned that Wind damage will be stronger than Hurricane Katrina.

These effects were already visible in parts of New Orleans, like this roof that was ripped off in the French Quarter on Decatur Street.

The emergency response system in the city announced that suspended operations due to strong winds and added that they would resume once it is safe for their workers.

The Sewer and Water Board there announced that they experienced power outages at “several” city pumps and urged residents to use as little water as possible. By 2 pm on Sunday, some 320,000 people had lost electricity in the state, where the worst is yet to come.

Heavy rains from today through Monday across the central Gulf Coast, across southeastern Louisiana, the Mississippi coast, to extreme southwestern Alabama, will result in “Substantial floods, sudden and in urban areas, that threaten life.” Rivers will also be significantly flooded.

There may continue to be “significant flooding in parts of the Lower Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio valleys through Wednesday,” the NHC said.

Sharon Broome, the mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced that they imposed curfew from dawn to dusk and that they will open the Raising Cane’s River Center as a refuge for the victims.

President Joe Biden declared a federal state of emergency for Louisiana and Mississippi. So did Governor Edwards at the state level.

Some 5,000 National Guard troops have been mobilized in 14 state parishes to participate in search and rescue work, while 10,000 power line workers are prepared to respond to possible power outages, which can be prolonged.

Llargués, the FEMA spokesman, told reporters that the agency sent 2,400 of its employees, 10 incident management teams, 12 search and rescue teams, 200 ambulances, 139,000 tents, 3.5 million meals, and 2.5 million to Louisiana. liters of water, with millions more on the way.

In Houma, Louisiana, a huge roof was blown off by gusts of wind and struck a power pole in front of Dominator Fore:

On Grand Isle, one of the islands off New Orleans, the rains, winds, and storm surges several feet high were already pouring in. There, 98% of the residents were evacuated, the governor said.

At St. Bernard parish, two piers broke loose and authorities have been unable to rescue one of them, parish president Guy McInnis told local news outlet WVTM 13.