New Orleans shelters from the onslaught of “extremely dangerous” Hurricane Ida and suspends mandatory evacuations



A resident collects sandbags at a distribution point at the Dryades YMCA on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard on Aug. 27, 2021, in New Orleans, as residents prepare for Hurricane Ida.


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A resident collects sandbags at a distribution point at the Dryades YMCA on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard on Aug. 27, 2021, in New Orleans, as residents prepare for Hurricane Ida.

Residents of the Louisiana coast on Saturday took one last day to prepare for Hurricane Ida, which has been described as potentially devastating. It is expected to bring winds of up to 140 miles per hour (225 kilometers per hour) when it makes landfall as a powerful Category 4 cyclone.

By Saturday afternoon, Ida had upgraded to Category 2 on her way to the Gulf of Mexico. “Preparations to protect life and property must be completed today in the warning area along the northern Gulf Coast, “said the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

As the storm rapidly increased in intensity, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that it was not possible to order a mandatory evacuation for the entire city, which would require using all lanes of some highways to get out of the city, as reported by local media Nola.com.

“We are not asking for a mandatory evacuation because time is just not on our side. We don’t want people to be on the roads and therefore in greater danger, “Cantrell said.

He reiterated that New Orleans residents within the city’s levee protection system are safe, but residents outside the levees were under a mandatory evacuation order and should leave as soon as possible.

By early Friday, Cantrell had issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Venetian Isles and other parts of New Orleans outside of the hurricane protection system, while also issuing a voluntary evacuation for the rest of the city within the levees.

At 7 a.m. Central Time, Ida was moving northwest at about 16 miles per hour (26 kilometers per hour) and this movement should continue through Sunday night or early Monday, followed by a movement slower north on Monday, the NHC announced early Saturday.

On the predicted trajectory, Ida’s eye will move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and will move over the center of the Gulf of Mexico tonight and early Sunday morning. Ida is then expected to make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast, then move inland over parts of Louisiana or western Mississippi later Monday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to about 85 mph (140 kph) with stronger gusts. Rapid strengthening is forecast over the next 24 to 36 hours and Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday. It is expected to weaken after it makes landfall.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km).

The storm is expected to make landfall on the exact date Hurricane Katrina devastated a large stretch of the Gulf Coast 16 years earlier.

But while Katrina was Category 3 when it made landfall southwest of New Orleans, Ida is expected to become an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, before likely making landfall west of New Orleans on Sunday night. The Associated Press news agency reports.

The meteorological phenomenon increased in intensity on Friday afternoon as it passed through Cuba, according to the NHC, and is expected to strengthen as it comes into contact with the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and heads for New Orleans.

“This will be a life-changing storm for those who are unprepared,” National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott said during a news conference Friday with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. University of Miami hucarane researcher Brian McNoldy told the AP that “Ida has the potential to be very harmful“.

The governor declared a state of emergency due to the hurricane warning. “By Saturday night, everyone should be at the site where they plan to pass the storm,” Edwards warned.

President Joe Biden approved a federal emergency declaration for Louisiana ahead of the storm. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) plans to send about 150 medical staff and nearly 50 ambulances to the Gulf Coast to assist hospitals.

Flooding from rising tides could be life threatening. Within the Morgan City, Louisiana area, to the mouth of the Mississippi River, 10 to 15 feet of rain can fall above sea level, while from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs it could drop between 7 to 11 feet. .

Citizens must be prepared to prolonged power outages, the authorities pointed out.

The devastation and shock of Katrina on August 29, 2005 as a Category 3 hurricane, precisely on the same day that Ida is forecast to impact, and the coronavirus health crisis, which has state hospitals at the limit of patients infected by COVID-19, add pressure to the arrival of Ida.

The hurricane watch extends from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and the New Orleans metropolitan area.

“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and high tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast are flooded with increasing water currents moving inland from the coast, “according to the National Hurricane Center.

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