United States – Hurricane Ida continues its devastating course in Louisiana
– Hurricane Ida continues its devastating course in Louisiana
Ida made landfall in Louisiana shortly before noon Sunday. Tens of thousands of homes were already without electricity.
Hurricane Ida continued its devastating course in Louisiana on Sunday, sixteen years to the day after the devastation of Katrina, with winds of up to 240 km / h which make it one of the most powerful weather episodes in recent decades to hit this southern region of the United States.
“It’s a potentially fatal cyclone,” said President Joe Biden, who visited the headquarters of the US Crisis Management Agency (FEMA) on Sunday. The US president urged the population to take Hurricane Ida seriously, which made landfall shortly before noon (7:00 p.m. in Switzerland).
In New Orleans, gusts of wind rushed through deserted streets, all stores, gas stations and houses were barricaded and the French Quarter eventually emptied, AFP found on the spot.
The force of the gusts had detached two river shuttles in New Orleans Sunday afternoon. One was recovered while the other was still tossed around in the Mississippi River, according to local newspapers.
“Once the hurricane has passed, you need to prepare to stay in the shelter where you are for at least 72 hours,” State Governor John Bel Edwards said at a conference. hurry. On CNN, the governor estimated that the costly dike system put in place after the devastation of Katrina in 2005 should “hold up”.
More than 410,000 homes were without electricity around 4:00 p.m. local time, according to the specialized site poweroutage.us. The ocean level was more than one and a half meters above its usual high average in several places, reports the American Hurricane Center (NHC).
In a neighborhood in the east of the city, a few hours before Ida’s arrival, residents were finishing their preparations. Charles Fields thus stored his garden furniture inside his house. “I’m not sure I’m ready but we’ll have to face it well,” he said. “We’ll see how it holds,” said this resident who found himself with more than three meters of water in his living room during the passage of Katrina.
130 km away, in the capital Baton Rouge, a curfew has been announced for all of the city west of the Mississippi River, from dusk until dawn. , Monday.
“Don’t go out”
Ida “will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” John Bel Edwards warned on Saturday. “Do not go out”, therefore hammered all weekend the American meteorological services, which recommend to the inhabitants to take refuge in a room without windows of their residence and to be sealed there.
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 had perished and bad weather had caused tens of billions of dollars in damage.
“I know it’s very painful to think that a new big storm like Hurricane Ida could make landfall on this anniversary date,” said John Bel Edwards. “But we are not the same state as 16 years ago, we have a hurricane risk reduction system.”
Hundreds of emergency response specialists and supplies of water, food and electric generators will be dispatched, Joe Biden said on Saturday.
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.
Hurricane Ida and Delta variant
As the surface of the oceans warms, hurricanes become more powerful, scientists say. In particular, they pose an increasingly significant risk to coastal communities that are victims of wave-submersion phenomena amplified by rising sea levels.
And the hurricane hits a region already on the health alert: the Delta variant hit the hardest Louisiana, little vaccinated, bringing its hospital system to its knees, with nearly 2,700 hospitalized patients and as many daily deaths as peak of the pandemic.
The storm therefore comes at “a very difficult time”, said the governor, presenting “extreme difficulties for us, with the hospitals so full of Covid patients”. “Make sure you wear a mask and try to keep your distance,” Joe Biden, who declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, reminded residents forced to go to shelters.