Hurricane Ida has been toned to category 2 on the scale of 5, and the storm landed south of New Orleans last night with wind speeds of up to 230 kilometers per hour. Now the hurricane is moving north of Louisiana at speeds of about 130 kilometres, leading to potentially “dangerous storm surge, devastating gusts of wind and sudden floods,” the US National Hurricane Center warns.
Around midnight (US time), local authorities called on Alliance residents, a place southeast of New Orleans to leave immediately because a dike has broken through. The weather service also sent an emergency warning to the area for “a life-threatening sudden flood” due to the dike breakthrough.
Damage and victims
Authorities say they have no picture of damage and victims Ida has made so far. Images on American TV channels show that many roofs have been blown from houses, streets flooded and trees are uprooted. The high winds even reversed the current of the Mississippi River for hours. There was a dead case because a tree landed on someone.
All of New Orleans is running out of power through the hurricane. Thats what the company oversees the southern citys power network. The company calls “catastrophic damage” to eight main cables that power the city as a cause and warned yesterday that people can stay without electricity for up to three weeks.
Over one million households are deprived of electricity throughout the state of Louisiana, reports Poweroutage.us site, which tracks power outages in the US.
The hurricane does a lot of damage, from the coast to the city:
The town of Jean Lafitte, about 50 kilometres south of New Orleans, has been completely destroyed by the hurricane, says Mayor Tim Kelner to CNN. Approximately 2000 people live there. Rescue workers cannot reach hundreds of residents because an important bridge has been wiped out.
“Weve had to deal with floods before, storms. But Ive never seen so much water in my life. It has struck us in the worst way imaginable. The storm was so huge, it totally destroyed this place,” says Kelner.
“Not by boat”
Most of the residents have been evacuated, but an estimated 300 people are still trapped in their homes. “We cant pick people up with boats either, because the water is too rough. It would be life-threatening to those in the boat.” Jean Lafitte is located in the middle of a nature reserve.
In New Orleans, the fire brigade pulled a man out of his collapsed house:
Ida landed last night in Louisiana as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever measured on the US mainland, with winds of around 230 kilometers per hour. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) classified Ida as a category 4 hurricane, out of a total of 5 categories.
The hurricane landed sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina, in almost the same place. In fact, Ida was a little more powerful than the hurricane that cost more than 1,800 people in 2005 and caused more than $170 billion in damage.
“We dont see the factors that make it a disaster at the time,” says correspondent Lucas Waagmeester in the CCEIT Radio 1 Journal. “But you wont know that until the storm is over the next few hours, days.”
The city is now better protected from hurricane violence than in 2005, after Katrina, a completely new protection system with dikes, concrete retaining walls and three major storm surge barriers around the city has been set up.
“The Delta works have kept it right now. But its going to rain a lot in the next few days, so much that it can cause flooding and major damage to the area,” says Lucas Waagmeester. “And then theres the water from the Gulf of Mexico, which was sucked by the hurricane. That caused the storm surge, which caused such a major disaster in 2005.”
Worst route imaginable
Although Ida has diminished in force, the danger has not gone yet, says Louisiana Governor Edwards. He told news agency AP that Ida “will be much stronger than we normally see”. According to him, the predicted path of the hurricane is “pretty much the worst thing you could draw out beforehand”. The hurricane draws along the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana.
Many hospitals in the region suffer from leaks and power outages. Edwards expressed all his concerns about the hospitals. They are full of corona patients and couldnt all be evacuated.
The Mayor of New Orleans has asked the residents to sit out of the hurricane in a safe place. Within a few days, Ida grew from a few thunderstorms to hurricane, leaving not enough time to reach the nearly 400,000 inhabitants of thecity evacuate.
This is what Idas eye looks like:
The FEMA Federal Disaster Response Agency has 2.5 million meals, 3 million litres of drinking water and 64 generators in the region. There are also hundreds of emergency workers, ninety ambulances, eight ambulance planes and seven helicopters.
Around 5000 National Guard reservists were summoned in Louisiana itself. In addition, hundreds of salvation experts from across the country have been mobilized. The Coast Guard has helicopters and boats ready. The military is also preparing for an aid operation.