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Hurricane Ida lashes Louisiana, knocking out energy in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS: Hurricane Ida, making landfall as a fierce Class 4 storm, plowed into Louisiana from the Gulf Mexico on Sunday, lashing the coast with 150 mile-per-hour winds, torrential downpours and pounding surf that submerged a lot of the shoreline underneath a number of ft of water.
All of New Orleans, Louisiana’s most populous metropolis, had energy knocked out as a result of “catastrophic transmission harm,” the native utility reported, hours after flash-flood warnings had been posted.
Sixteen years to the day after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Ida slammed ashore round midday close to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, a hub of the Gulf’s offshore power trade, blasting the coast with hurricane-force winds extending 50 miles (80 km) out from the attention of the storm.
Residents of probably the most susceptible coastal areas had been ordered to evacuate days prematurely. However these using out the storm of their properties in New Orleans, lower than 100 miles inland to the north, braced for the hardest take a look at but of main upgrades to a levee system constructed following devastating floods in 2005 from Katrina.
“I nearly discovered myself in a panic assault when information introduced this was the anniversary of Katrina,” Janet Rucker, a lifelong New Orleans resident and lately retired gross sales supervisor who took shelter in a downtown lodge together with her canine, Deuce. “That is simply not good for our nerves and our psyche.”
The storm’s method additionally pressured the suspension of emergency medical providers in New Orleans and elsewhere throughout a state already reeling from a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections that has strained Louisiana’s healthcare system.
For an estimated 2,450 Covid-19 sufferers hospitalized statewide, many in intensive care items, evacuation was not an possibility.
A lack of generator energy on the Thibodaux Regional Well being System hospital in Lafourche Parish, southwest of New Orleans, pressured medical employees to manually help respirator sufferers with respiration whereas they had been moved to a different ground, the state Well being Division confirmed to Reuters.
Farren Clark, a Nicholls State College professor who studied Katrina’s affect and was using out the storm at his mom’s residence in Thibodaux, referred to as the arrival of Ida “nerve-wracking.”
“I can hear the howl of the storm getting stronger,” he advised Reuters by telephone. “Having completed analysis on Katrina, it’s a little bit triggering.”
Michael Lewis, 45, restaurant proprietor in close by Houma, mentioned he may see shingles blown off his roof and a downed fence by a window of his residence however was unable to test the complete extent of harm because the storm raged.
“It is method too harmful to go outdoors proper now,” he mentioned in a telephone interview.
Officers of the US Military Corps of Engineers mentioned they anticipated town’s newly strengthened levees to carry, although they mentioned they mentioned the flood partitions might be overtopped in some locations.
“This is among the strongest storms to make landfall right here in trendy occasions,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards mentioned at a information briefing.
A whole lot of miles of latest levees had been constructed round New Orleans after flooding from Katrina inundated a lot of the low-lying metropolis, particularly traditionally Black neighborhoods. That monster storm claimed greater than 1,800 lives.
Edwards voiced confidence within the billions of {dollars} in levee enhancements since then, saying they had been “constructed for this second.”
Energy outages had been widespread within the first hours of the storm, with greater than 750,000 Louisiana properties and companies dropping electrical energy by Sunday evening, based on state utility Entergy Louisiana.
“As quickly the storm passes, we will put the nation’s full may behind the rescue and restoration,” President Joe Biden mentioned after a briefing on the Federal Emergency Administration Company headquarters in Washington.
Biden earlier mentioned 500 federal emergency response employees had been standing by in Texas and Louisiana.
Simply three days after rising as a tropical storm within the Caribbean Sea, Ida had intensified right into a Class 4 hurricane and swept ashore with prime sustained winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour), the Nationwide Hurricane Middle (NHC) reported.
Inside hours, as Ida crept nearer to New Orleans, its sustained winds had diminished to 120 mph, rating it as a Class 3 storm however one nonetheless thought-about a life-threatening main hurricane, based on the NHC.
Palm bushes trembled as rain blasted in sideways by New Orleans on Sunday, the place retiree Robert Ruffin, 68, had evacuated along with his household to a downtown lodge.
“I believed it was safer,” he mentioned. “It is double-trouble this time due to Covid.”
Inundation from Ida’s storm surge – excessive surf pushed by the hurricane’s winds – was reported to be exceeding predicted ranges of 6 ft (1.83 m) alongside components of the coast. Movies posted on social media confirmed storm surge flooding had reworked sections of Freeway 90 alongside the Louisiana and Mississippi coast right into a uneven river.
The NHC additionally warned of probably catastrophic wind harm and as much as 2 ft (61 cm) of rainfall in some areas.
The governor warned it may take 72 hours for emergency responders to reach to hard-hit locations. Some parishes imposed curfews starting Sunday night.
“We’re as ready as we will be, however we’re anxious about these levees,” mentioned Kirk Lepine, president of Plaquemines Parish, and one of the vital susceptible areas alongside Gulf Coast.
The parish later issued an alert on Fb urging residents of 1 space to hunt greater floor after studies of an overtopped levee.
“Everybody who cares about New Orleans is anxious,” mentioned Andy Horowitz, a historical past professor who wrote “Katrina: A Historical past, 1915-2015.” Horowitz fled to Alabama along with his household from their residence close to New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Offshore power operations within the area had been at a digital standstill. The Bureau of Security and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) mentioned practically 300 offshore oil and fuel platforms had been evacuated, reducing Gulf-based petroleum and pure fuel manufacturing by 96% and 94%, respectively.

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