Tropical storm Ida has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane and is forecast to make landfall in Louisiana on Sunday.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina brought nothing but destruction and death across much of the US Gulf Coast, especially after its second landfall over Louisiana and Mississippi. Becoming the third major storm of the 2005 Atlantic season, Katrina claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 individuals and was one of the most costliest cyclones to strike the US.
Rapidly intensifying over the Caribbean Sea, tropical storm Ida has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane and is forecast to make landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, which will mark the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
The latest advisory released by the US National Hurricane Center states that the cyclone has reached maximum sustained wind speeds of 80 miles per hour, and is moving at a pace of 15 miles per hour in a northwestern direction.
— NOAA Satellites – Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) August 27, 2021
Forecasts indicate that the cyclone may make its landfall on the US Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm. “Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast on Sunday,” the bulletin states.
— Michael Jaffe (@mjaffeterp) August 27, 2021
Ida made its first landfall on the Isle of Youth just before 2 p.m. local time on Friday. A second landfall on mainland Cuba is due for later Friday before the storm spends the next several hours crossing much of Western Cuba, and eventually moving into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
— Rochex R. Robinson Bonilla (@RochexRB27) August 27, 2021
At present, Ida’s hurricane-force winds are extending up to 25 miles from the center of the storm, with tropical storm-force winds stretching about 90 miles from the hurricane’s eye. A wind gust of 46 miles per hour were recorded on Cayo Largo, Cuba.
— @LisandratlSUR (@LisandratlSUR1) August 27, 2021
Forecasters have warned that Ida will be bringing with it a “dangerous storm surge” that could raise normal tide levels by up to 6 feet. Should the storm surge arrive at high tide, officials have indicated that some areas along the Mississippi-Louisiana border could see water levels rise up to 7 feet.
“The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves,” the agency noted in its advisory.
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) August 27, 2021
It was also underscored that there is a possibility that local levees outside of Louisiana’s Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System could be “overtopped” if inundation values are higher than predicted.
Ida is forecasted to bring as much as 20 inches to the Gulf region through the weekend until early Monday, as well as “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Ida to Strike 16 Years After Katrina
When Hurricane Katrina washed ashore in 2005, it quickly overpowered the US Gulf Coast and devastated the New Orleans area after breaches in the city’s levee system and floodwalls left about 80% of the city underwater.
The storm had initially been registered as a Category 5 cyclone before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane. Still considered a major hurricane, Katrina did not hold back on Louisiana. The death toll for the storm reached nearly 2,000 and displaced thousands of families.
While many had left New Orleans ahead of the landfall, not all had the resources to make such a trip – an estimated tens of thousands of people stayed behind as the storm drew closer. With roads flooded, many were forced to wait for days on roofs before first responders could carry out rescue missions.
In Louisiana’s Ninth Ward, which sits close to the mouth of the Mississippi River, flood waters reached a depth of up to 15 feet. Many died as a result of drowning.
Now, New Orleanians are keeping vigilant as Hurricane Ida prepares to land on the 16th anniversary of Katrina.
Collin Arnold, who serves as the director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told local station WESH that locals are seeing Katrina as a lesson learned, and are upping preparations.
“Obviously, it is a significant date in our history as New Orleanians,” Arnold admitted. “It also is something we have learned from. I know folks are out right now preparing for this Sunday because they have the memory of Katrina.”
“The latest I saw – 10 to 15 inches of rain expected over the entire event in the New Orleans area, which is a lot. Right now, the work is getting prepared. We are asking the public to do the same,” he added.
As an added precaution, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell on Friday ordered residents who live or work outside of the city’s levee protection system to evacuate the area. Although she did not specify the number of residents the order affects, she urged that “now is the time” to hightail it.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed during the Friday briefing that US President Joe Biden would be following developments surrounding the storm and that the administration would be dispatching a response team of medical officials to the area.