Ida, the Category 4 hurricane, among the top five of the most powerful storms in US history, on Sunday made landfall in the state of Louisiana close to the spot where the infamous Hurricane Katrina struck exactly 16 years ago.
Ida remained just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, storming ashore at about 11:55 am local time, near the Grand Isle barrier island, in Port Fourchon, an offshore oil town.
Ida’s landfall spot ended up being some 40 miles west of the spot where Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana on the same date, August 29, but back in 2005.
With its winds of about 150 mph, Ida remained a little below the Category 5 hurricane whose qualifier is a wind speed of 157 mph.
Ida is presently ranked tied for the spot of the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the US based on wind speed, and tied for the spot of the ninth strongest based on central pressure.
16 years ago Hurricane Katrina was only Category 3 but it killed at least 1,833 people and left millions homeless on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.
According to Brian McNoldy, a University of Miami hurricane researcher cited by The New York Post, Ida will be “definitely” stronger than Katrina by a “pretty big margin”, and “the worst of Ida” to strike New Orleans and Baton Rouge which in 2005 “got the weaker side of Katrina.”
A warning from the National Weather Service spoke of a “life-threatening storm surge” was impacting most of Louisiana’s coastline.
In Port Fourchon in particular, the water is predicted to rise up to 15 feet.
The NY Post also cited meteorologist Kevin Gilmore from the NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge office, who said the storm was “just absolutely inundating” Grand Isle, with reports saying that roofs were getting peeled off of homes.
Hurricane Ida is forecast to go through the wetlands in Southeast Louisiana before pummeling New Orleans and the state capital Baton Rouge.
As it moves towards Baton Rouge later on Sunday, it is forecast to weaken to a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.
‘Very challenging difficulties’: hurricane amid COVID-19
On Sunday, Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards warned that Ida “is going to be a very serious test for our levee systems.”
Edwards told CNN that the powerful hurricane is coming at a time with “very challenging difficulties,” as the state’s hospitals “are being so full of COVID patients.”
He informed that state officials were seeking hotel rooms for safe shelter for potential evacuees.
During the 2020 hurricane season, the state had set aside rooms for 20,000 people.
Hurricane Ida caused the cancelation of all of its flights on Sunday after 226 flights were canceled on Saturday, 40 on Friday, and 173 are expected to be canceled on Monday.
Parts of Gulfport in the neighboring state of Mississippi were underwater by the early afternoon on Sunday, as Louisiana isn’t the only state affected by Ida.