The mayor of New Orleans has ordered the evacuation of unprotected neighborhoods from flooding as the city braces for a possible direct impact from a storm stronger than Hurricane Katrina, which left a trail of devastation exactly 16 years ago.
“What I’ve been told is this storm is not going to go away,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said Saturday (8/8).
Hurricane Ida intensified in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before arriving on the southern coast of the United States scheduled for Sunday (29/8).
Mandatory evacuation is in effect for some parts of New Orleans – those outside of levee-protected areas – while a voluntary evacuation order has been issued for the rest of the city.
Weirs are a system of flood barriers, built to protect the lower reaches of New Orleans and reinforced after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“If you’re going to leave (the house), you should do it now,” Cantrell said. “We need to make sure you’re in a safe place. Everyone, whether you’re leaving voluntarily or staying, get ready.”
She added that those unable to leave the city should “prepare for winds, power outages, heavy rain and cyclones”.
Increasingly severe storms
The impact of climate change on storm frequency remains unclear, but rising sea surface temperatures are warming the air and providing more energy to drive hurricanes, hurricanes, and hurricanes.
As a result, these phenomena are likely to be more intense, with heavier rainfall.
Meteorologists say it will be a Category 4 hurricane when it hits the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
More than 80 oil rigs in the Gulf have been evacuated, and half of the region’s oil and gas production has been suspended.
Ida has already brought torrential rains to western Cuba, reaching Ida de Juventud with winds of 120 km/h.
Coincidentally, Sunday marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans after hitting a Category Three. Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of the city and killed more than 1,800 people.
Experts say that if storm surges occur at a time when the tide is high, seawater could flood New Orleans’ levee system and reach the city.
Louisiana Governor Bill Edwards declared a state of emergency and urged everyone along the state’s coast to shelter from Saturday night.
President Joe Biden said Saturday that Ida is “turning into a very dangerous storm” and that the federal government is ready to provide assistance.
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