New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

New Orleans hunkers down as Hurricane Ida strikes Louisiana


NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Ida blasted ashore Sunday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., rushing from the Louisiana coast toward New Orleans and one of the nation’s most important industrial corridors.

The Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph hit on the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississipp­i 16 years earlier, coming ashore about 45 miles west of where Category 3 Katrina first struck land.

The rising ocean swamped the barrier island of Grand Isle as landfall came just to the west at Port Fourchon. Ida made a second landfall about two hours later near Galliano. The hurricane was churning through the far southern Louisiana wetlands, with the more than 2 million people living in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge up next.

“This is not the kind of storm that we normally get. This is going to be much stronger than we usually see and, quite frankly, if you had to draw up the worst possible path for a hurricane in Louisiana, it would be something very, very close to what we’re seeing,” Gov. John

Bel Edwards told The Associated Press.

People in Louisiana woke up to a monster storm after Ida’s top winds grew by 45 mph (72 kph) in five hours as the hurricane moved through some of the warmest ocean water in the world in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Wind tore at awnings and water spilled out of Lake Ponchartra­in in New Orleans before noon Sunday. Officials said Ida’s swift intensific­ation from a few thundersto­rms to a massive

hurricane in just three days left no time to organize a mandatory evacuation of the city’s 390,000 residents. Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents to leave voluntaril­y. Those who stayed were warned to prepare for long power outages amid sweltering heat.

“This is the time. Heed all warnings. Ensure that you shelter in place. You hunker down,” Cantrell told a news conference.

Nick Mosca, out walking his dog Sunday morning before the storm hit, said he would like to have been better prepared. “But this storm came pretty quick, so you only have the time you have,” Mosca said.

Ida’s 150-mph winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the mainland U.S.

Those winds whipped through Port Fourchon, where boats and helicopter­s gather to take workers and supplies to oil platforms in the ocean and the oil extracted starts its journey toward refineries. The port handles about a fifth of the nation’s domestic oil and gas, officials said.

Edwards said he watched a live video feed from the port area as Ida came ashore.

“The storm surge is just tremendous. We can see the roofs have been blown off of the port buildings in many places,” Edwards told the AP.

Along with the oil industry, Ida threatened a region already reeling from a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, due to low vaccinatio­n rates and the highly contagious delta variant.

New Orleans hospitals planned to ride out the storm with their beds nearly full, as similarly stressed hospitals elsewhere had little room for evacuated patients.

 ?? Eric Gay / Associated Press ?? A man passes by a section of roof that was blown off a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida’s winds on Sunday in New Orleans.
Eric Gay / Associated Press A man passes by a section of roof that was blown off a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida’s winds on Sunday in New Orleans.

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