EAn extremely dangerous hurricane is heading for the US Gulf Coast at the weekend, the authorities are warning of severe damage and flooding, especially in the state of Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards urged everyone to go to a safe place no later than Saturday evening (local time). The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned the state and the city of New Orleans would face massive rainfall, a storm surge and catastrophic winds.
Hurricane “Ida” is forecast to hit land on Sunday afternoon (local time) in Louisiana as an “extremely dangerous large hurricane”, as the NHC warned. That would be exactly 16 years to the day after the arrival of the devastating hurricane “Katrina”, which caused catastrophic damage and floods in and around New Orleans. Around 1,800 people were killed at that time.
Fast wind gusts of 200 km / h expected
“Ida” now brings foothills with wind speeds of more than 155 kilometers per hour, said the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Saturday. That’s equivalent to a level two out of five hurricane. The storm is forecast to continue to rapidly gain strength over the warm seawater and hit land on Sunday afternoon (local time) in the US state of Louisiana as an “extremely dangerous large hurricane”.
Then, according to forecasts, it could be a magnitude four hurricane. Such a storm system brings wind speeds of more than 209 kilometers per hour with it and usually triggers “catastrophic destruction”. According to the NHC, severe damage and long-term power outages are to be expected.
“Hurricane Ida poses a direct threat to the people of New Orleans,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Friday (local time). Because of the rapidly approaching storm, there is no more time to order the evacuation of the entire city. She therefore only ordered the evacuation of particularly endangered areas that lie outside the flood dams. All citizens are called upon to go to a sheltered place before the storm arrives.
US President Joe Biden received a briefing from the Fema civil protection agency on the storm on Saturday and urged all citizens to get to safety. Fema has already sent 500 emergency services as well as water and food supplies and generators to the region, he said. The Coast Guard brought 18 helicopters and numerous boats into the region for rescue missions.
New Orleans is preparing for storm surge
In addition to storm damage, flooding as a result of the expected heavy rain and storm surges are particularly dangerous for the city, which is known as a jazz metropolis. New Orleans is almost entirely surrounded by water – Lake Pontchartrain to the north and Lake Borgne to the east, and the wetlands along the Mississippi Estuary to the south.
A storm surge of up to four and a half meters in height can be expected on parts of the Louisiana coast, warned the NHC. For Lake Borgne a good three meters can be expected, for Lake Pontchartrain a good two meters. The governor of Louisiana mobilized the National Guard and declared a state of emergency to mobilize additional aid beforehand.
According to reports from the state media there, “Ida” had caused power outages in Cuba and trees fell over. Thousands of people have been evacuated, and local public transport has ceased in the capital, Havana. “Ida” is the fourth Atlantic hurricane of the season.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, Hurricane “Nora” set course for Mexico. With wind speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour, he will move along Mexico’s southwest coast on Saturday, said the US hurricane center Miami. The US agency warned of heavy rains, flash floods and landslides in several states, including Jalisco and Guerrero. “Nora” had therefore previously developed in the Pacific from a storm to a level one hurricane.