New Orleans prepares to welcome "extremely dangerous" Hurricane Ida.


Driven by the memory of what happened 16 years ago with the devastating Katrina, thousands of inhabitants evacuate the region, collapsing the highways and generating fuel shortages. It is expected to make landfall on Sunday after reaching category two on the Saffir Simpson scale.

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 155 kilometers per hour, before making landfall in the US this Sunday.

This Saturday, Hurricane Ida reached category two on the Saffir Simpson scale, amid the memory of what happened just 16 years ago with Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city. Now, and thousands of New Orleans citizens crowding the freeways heading north as authorities warn of the danger posed by the rapid strengthening of Ida, which takes hold 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.

What will be the first hurricane to make landfall in the US so far this season in the Atlantic count is already less than 470 km south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is anticipated that it will reach the US coast in the afternoon or Sunday night as category four on the Saffir-Simpson scale, out of a maximum of 5 and measuring hurricanes based on the strength of their winds.

But its most significant danger is the water and, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), a "devastating" storm surge could raise the average sea level to 15 feet 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, can leave regions of southeastern Louisiana "uninhabitable" due to "structural damage" to buildings "Many of whom will be swept away."

To this should be added large and dangerous waves and large amounts of rain, with an accumulation of up to 50 centimeters in southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi until Monday.

Experts warned that all of this could cause flooding in the region, who expected tornadoes to be recorded in the area from Sunday to Monday morning.

Mandatory evacuation

The mayor of the city, LaToya Cantrell, ordered this Friday the mandatory evacuation of people living outside the levee system that protects the town from possible floods and recommended that the rest 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. They must all be prepared before tonight.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has also spoken out, warning on several occasions that the evacuation countdown has begun and residents should be prepared for the arrival of Ida by this evening. He expects Serious effects on the state."

Edwards has already requested the declaration of a state of emergency, which was accepted shortly after by the president, Joe Biden, 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 town, built between the Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain, was almost completely submerged in floodwaters when strong winds from Katrina caused the lake's levels to plummet. At the same time, Ida was predicted to power 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" from what it was 16 years ago.

Louisiana is a region used to attack these powerful tropical storms. Ida arrives on August 27, 2020, almost a year after Laura's landing, the strongest hurricane recorded in the state, with winds of 240 kilometers per hour and killing at least 40 people in the United States. 

Now comes Ida, which previously passed through Cuba this Friday, when it made landfall as a category one hurricane and crossed the country at its western end without fatalities being reported so far.