- BBC News World
Louisiana residents prepare for what can be a fierce storm precisely on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina passing through New Orleans 16 years ago.
Tens of thousands of people are fleeing that southern US state as Hurricane Ida approaches its shores.
Ida is expected to make landfall in the Gulf of Mexico this Sunday with winds of 220 km / h and storm surge that can be “life threatening.”
Forecasts note that Ida may be even stronger than Hurricane Katrina that devastated much of New Orleans in 2005.
Traffic jams clogged Louisiana’s exit freeways, where residents from multiple areas received evacuation orders.
Governor John Bel Edwards noted that the storm may be one of the largest to hit the state in 150 years.
“Time is running out,” he warned residents on Saturday.
“By the time they go to bed tonight, they need to be where the storm is going to pass and they need to be as prepared as possible, because the weather will start to deteriorate very quickly tomorrow. [por el domingo]”.
The governor of the neighboring state of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, declared a state of emergency.
US President Joe Biden said Ida is turning “into a very, very dangerous storm” and announced that the federal government is ready to provide assistance.
The hurricane is intensifying over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, moving it up from a Category 2 to an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm.
Tropical storm-force winds are expected to pass through Louisiana beginning Sunday morning.
It happens that this Sunday marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans as a category 3 hurricane.
Katrina flooded 80% of the city and caused more than 1,800 deaths.
“I am absolutely devastated to think of those communities under mandatory evacuation orders,” Alessandra Jerolleman, an emergency management expert at Tulane University in New Orleans, told the BBC as she fled in her car.
“Catastrophic and substantial damage is anticipated, floods are expected and vehicles will be lost.”
More than 80 drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated and half of the region’s oil and gas production has been suspended.
I pass through Cuba
Previously, Ida passed through Cuba, uprooting trees and damaging rooftops, while Jamaica suffered heavy rains. There were no reports of deaths.
The impact of climate change on the frequency of storms is still unclear, but rising sea surface temperatures warm the air above them and make more energy available to power hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons.
As a result, these phenomena tend to be more intense with more extreme rains.
Experts say that if the storm surge hits at a time that coincides with high tide, the sea level can rise above New Orleans’ levee system and enter the city.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.