“It’s one of the strongest hurricanes since 1850”… Sixteen years after Katrina, Ida sweeps over Louisiana

Sixteen years to the day after the devastating hurricane Katrina, Louisiana (south-eastern United States) is preparing this Sunday to suffer the assaults of Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful of recent decades in this region. American state. Coastal submersions, torrential rains, floods and winds over 250 km / h are expected within a few hours.

The eye of this “extremely dangerous (…) hurricane is approaching the southeast coast of Louisiana,” warned the American Hurricane Center in its latest bulletin, warning of “catastrophic” sea level rises.

“Gusts of over 250 km / h and significant coastal submersion”

“Due to favorable oceanic and atmospheric conditions, Ida grew stronger and reached the hurricane stage. It will make landfall this evening on the Louisiana coast, at the level of New Orleans, at the category 4 hurricane stage (on a scale of 5) ”, explains
Régis Crépet, meteorologist at La Chaîne Météo. “Ida’s build-up in the Gulf of Mexico has been explosive. As she ascended towards the Louisiana coast, Ida flew over warmer than normal waters along the coastline (around 30 ° C). On the other hand, the weak winds at altitude and the absence of shear (headwind) were favorable parameters for a rapid intensification of the phenomenon, ”adds the meteorologist.

We must therefore expect “winds of between 240 and 280 km / h on the coast and torrential rains (from 300 to 450 mm), corresponding to 9 months of rain in Paris in 36 hours, which can cause significant floods, especially since Ida will hit Louisiana just at the level of the Mississippi estuary and its delta. The storm surge linked to this hurricane will also cause very significant submersion ”.

“Don’t leave your house! “

Ida, which strengthened in Category 4 overnight, “will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” Governor John Bel Edwards warned. “Don’t leave your house! “, Therefore hammered the American meteorological services, which recommend that residents take refuge in a windowless room of their home and seal it up for the next 24 hours.

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President Joe Biden also called on the people of Louisiana “to prepare.” He announced in a televised address on Saturday afternoon the dispatch of hundreds of emergency response specialists and the establishment of reserves of water, food and electric generators. Local authorities, the Red Cross and other organizations plan to open “dozens of shelters for at least 16,000 people,” the White House added on Sunday.

The memory of Katrina, which made landfall on August 29, 2005, exactly 16 years ago, is still painful in Louisiana: more than 1,800 people were killed and bad weather caused tens of billions of dollars in damage.

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