Since the beginning of the weekend, the highways heading north were saturated with people trying to evacuate the area. The authorities' alerts about the phenomenon's intensity awakened the drama's memory lived 16 years ago with Katrina.
With winds of at least 209 kilometers per hour, Hurricane Ida progressed to category four this Sunday while continuing to approach New Orleans, the United States National Hurricane Center said.
The center said on its website; The Great Hurricane Base is getting stronger. It is now a dangerous category of four hurricanes.
Business closings and evacuations took place this Saturday in New Orleans and other cities before the arrival of Hurricane Ida in this region of the southern United States, devastated 16 years ago by Katrina.
A handful of people were still on the streets. Still, many businesses closed in the face of what the National Weather Service called a "major and extremely dangerous hurricane."
"Everybody is scared because it's Katrina's anniversary, and people didn't take it seriously back then, Austin Suriano said as he helped close the windows of his father's watch repair shop.
This Sunday, when Ada is expected to land, it will mark Katrina's 16th birthday. This devastating hurricane flooded 80% of New Orleans, leaving 1,800 dead and billions of dollars in damage.
President Joe Biden warned on Saturday that Ada is turning into a very dangerous storm, as the meteor turns into a Category 2 hurricane, with winds of up to 100 mph and heavy rain.
Earlier on Friday, exits from New Orleans and other cities heading north were saturated with evacuees following a request from authorities for residents to flee or seek shelter.
All Sunday flights were canceled at the New Orleans airport.
An intense Category 4 hurricane is forecast to land in Louisiana on Sunday night after solid tropical storms hit the area on Saturday afternoon.
The state's governor, John Bel Edwards, said it would be one of the most significant storms to hit the United States since the 1850s.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned residents to take the base very seriously. Time is not on our side, he said on Saturday. It's spreading. It's getting faster.
South Louisiana is experiencing massive damage and flooding, with up to 50 centimeters of rain forecast in some places, as storms are raging across the Gulf after hitting western Cuba.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned residents to take Ida very seriously. "Time is not on our side," he said Saturday. "It is proliferating; it is intensifying."
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Southern Louisiana is bracing for massive damage and flooding, with rains of up to 50 centimeters forecast in some places, as the storm rages across the Gulf after hitting western Cuba.
"Prolonged loss of power is almost certain," New Orleans security director Collin Arnold told reporters on Saturday. "I implore you to take this storm seriously," he said.
Biden said he sent hundreds of emergency troops to the region, along with food, water, and electric generators.
Shelters will also be made available, but Louisiana has been one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic, so Biden urged continued wearing masks and taking precautions.
The United States National Weather Service Forecasts Life-threatening Storm Surge When Hurricane Makes Landfall along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, warning of "catastrophic wind damage" that could generate tornadoes.
Category 4 is the second-highest on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Louisiana declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm.
The declaration of a state of emergency, approved by Biden, will channel supplemental federal funds and help the southern state to strengthen its emergency preparedness and response efforts.
Since Friday night, the hurricane made landfall in western Cuba with category one, with maximum sustained winds close to 128 km per hour.
The storm downed trees, damaged roofs, and caused power lines to fall, causing widespread power outages, the website of the official newspaper Granma reported.
Edwards told a news conference that warnings about Ida's arrival inevitably raise memories of Katrina's ill fate.
"It is painful to think that another powerful storm like Hurricane Ida will make landfall on this anniversary," declared the governor of Louisiana.
Since then, the big difference is that substantial investment has been made in a protection system consisting of dams, gates, and pumps. "This system will be put to the test (...), but we will succeed," he added.
Meanwhile, Category 1 hurricane Nora made landfall in the state of Jalisco, on Mexico's central Pacific coast, the NHC said.
Last week, a rare tropical storm hit the northeast coast of the United States, leaving thousands of residents without power, uprooting trees, and causing record-breaking rainfall.
Scientists have warned of an increase in the number of solid cyclones as the ocean surface warms due to climate change., posing a growing threat to the world's coastal communities.