Tens of thousands of residents of New Orleans and the Louisiana coastal area evacuate the region this Saturday in the face of the onslaught of Ida, which is expected to become an “extremely dangerous” hurricane, with sustained winds of up to 140 miles per hour (225 km / h), before making landfall in the US this Sunday.
With the memory of what happened just 16 years ago with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city, thousands of New Orleans citizens crowd the freeways heading north as authorities warn of the danger posed by the rapid strengthening of Ida, which is gaining strength in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico after leaving Cuba behind.
The departure of thousands of people from the coastal area has caused significant retentions this Saturday and fuel has already begun to run short in numerous points in New Orleans and the rest of a region where a curfew has been decreed in the parish of Terrebonne, which it is in the possible path of Ida.ç
What will be the first hurricane to make landfall in the US so far this season in the Atlantic count is now less than 350 miles (565 km) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and is anticipated to hit the US coast on Sunday afternoon or evening as category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, out of a maximum of 5 and measuring hurricanes based on the strength of their winds.
But their greatest danger is water, and according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), a “devastating” storm surge could raise normal sea levels by as much as 15 feet (4.5 meters) in the area of the mouth of the Mississippi.
The National Weather Service in New Orleans warns that storm surge, along with gusts of winds as strong as 150 miles per hour (240 km / h), can render “uninhabitable” regions of southeastern Louisiana, due to “structural damage.” that buildings may suffer, “many of which will be washed away.”
Added to this are large and dangerous waves and large amounts of rain, accumulating up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) in southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi through Monday.
All this could cause floods and floods in this region, warned the experts, who anticipated that tornadoes could be registered from Sunday until early Monday in this same area.
The mayor of the city, LaToya Cantrell, ordered this Friday the mandatory evacuation of people living outside the levee system that protect the city from possible floods, and recommended to the rest that they also leave the area or seek protection.
And this Saturday Cantrell said at a press conference that the decision to stay or evacuate must be taken “immediately”, since “time is not on the side” of the citizens and Ida will come very soon, and they must all be prepared before tonight.
No less resounding was the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, who has warned on several occasions that the countdown to evacuate has already begun and that residents have until dusk this Saturday to be ready for the arrival of Ida, which he anticipates will have “Serious impacts” on the state.
Edwards has already requested the declaration of a state of emergency, which was accepted shortly after by the president, Joe Biden, in order to assist the region with federal funds and resources.
Katrina in memory
Considered one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused the death of 1,833 people and the displacement of almost a million inhabitants, by losing their properties.
The city, built between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, was almost completely flooded when the levees of that lake broke due to the strong winds originated by Katrina, which arrived on August 29, 2005 as Category 3, while Ida was Predicted to be force 4.
But now local authorities hope that the multi-million dollar investment made in the containment and pumping system will prevent a possible tragedy on the same day, 16 years later. And they say that New Orleans is a “very different city in terms of security and infrastructure” in relation to what it was 16 years ago.
Louisiana is a region used to the onslaught of these powerful tropical storms. Ida also comes almost a year after Laura made landfall on August 27, 2020 as the strongest hurricane on record in this state, with winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km / h), and left about 40 dead in the US. .UU.
Ahora llega Ida, que previamente pasó por Cuba este viernes, cuando tocó tierra como huracán de categoría 1 y cruzó el país en su extremo occidental sin que hasta el momento se hayan reportados víctimas mortales.