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Highly effective Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana

Hurricane Ida has made landfall within the US state of Louisiana after its speedy method of america Gulf Coast prompted native officers to induce residents to take cowl and open emergency shelters for evacuees.

The storm made landfall as an “extremely dangerous” Class 4 hurricane close to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, the Nationwide Hurricane Middle (NHC) said at 11:55am CDT (16:55 GMT) on Sunday.

It introduced most sustained winds of 241 kilometres per hour (150mph) to the southern US area, which for days had been bracing for the hurricane to hit.

In a later update, the Miami-based NHC stated Ida was inflicting a “catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding in portions of Louisiana” and was anticipated to stay a hurricane by means of late Sunday night time.

Rain gusted by means of New Orleans on Sunday morning, the place retired 68-year-old Robert Ruffin had evacuated together with his household to a downtown lodge from their residence within the metropolis’s east.

“I thought it was safer,” Ruffin advised the Reuters information company. “It’s double trouble this time because of COVID.”

A day earlier, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards had warned that Hurricane Ida could possibly be the state’s worst direct hit by a hurricane for the reason that 1850s.

Edwards advised CNN on Sunday that he believed the state’s levees would have the ability to stand up to the storm surge, although he expressed some doubt about parishes within the south.

“Where we’re less confident is further south where you have other protection systems that are not built to that same standard,” he stated.

Earlier than the storm made landfall, Louisiana State Police tweeted that “conditions are quickly deteriorating” and urged residents to take cowl. “If you have not evacuated and are in the affected area along the southeast and south central gulf coast, please seek shelter immediately,” it stated.

‘Unpredictable and incredibly powerful’

In New Orleans, the place the worst climate is anticipated later within the day, gentle rain fell. Vehicles had been parked on the median, which locals name impartial floor as a result of it’s a few toes increased and might defend in opposition to potential flooding.

Ida intensified so swiftly that metropolis officers stated there was no time to organise a compulsory evacuation of its 390,000 residents. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents to depart voluntarily. Those that stayed had been warned to arrange for lengthy energy outages amid sweltering warmth.

Resident Nick Mosca was strolling his canine, like most of those that had been out on Sunday.

“I’d like to be better prepared. There’s a few things I’m thinking we could have done. But this storm came pretty quick, so you only have the time you have,” Mosca stated.

The storm made landfall on the precise date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years in the past. Whereas the 2 hurricanes are comparable, they have key differences – particularly in measurement and route.

Al Jazeera’s Phil Lavelle, reporting from New Orleans, stated it was impossible that Hurricane Ida would enhance in energy after it made landfall. However there are severe fears the storm won’t solely convey sturdy winds and flooding to the realm, however might have an effect on important infrastructure, as effectively.

LaKeisha Verdin holds her three month outdated son Kevin as she and her household look ahead to Hurricane Ida updates hours forward of the storm’s landfall, in Houma, Louisiana [Adrees Latif/Reuters]

Dozens of oil refineries are positioned within the path of the storm, Lavelle defined, amongst different necessary websites.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen; this is unpredictable and it is incredibly powerful,” he stated.

US President Joe Biden on Sunday visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) in Washington for a briefing about Hurricane Ida, the White Home stated. Biden this weekend authorized emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi, which permits federal help to be despatched to these states.

COVID considerations

Hurricane Ida is also threatening part of the US already reeling from a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, on account of low vaccination charges and the highly contagious Delta variant.

New Orleans hospitals deliberate to trip out the storm with their beds practically full, as equally pressured hospitals elsewhere had little room for evacuated sufferers. Shelters for these fleeing their properties carried an added danger of turning into flashpoints for brand spanking new infections.

Sharon Weston Broome, the mayor of Baton Rouge, stated on Sunday that workers and evacuees at shelters can be required to put on masks no matter their vaccination standing.

“Masks will help ensure the safety of our workforce and those we serve during disasters. Our goal is to keep everyone safe from the hurricane and COVID-19,” she tweeted.

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