US Gulf Coast hit by ‘life-threatening’ storm on anniversary of Katrina

Natural disasters updates

The US Gulf Coast was on Sunday being pummeled by one of its greatest storms in trendy instances, as Hurricane Ida threatened widespread devastation in Louisiana and different states within the area.

The National Hurricane Center stated wind speeds have been round 150 miles per hour because the class 4 storm made landfall close to Port Fourchon, Louisiana, about 60 miles south of New Orleans, bringing “life-threatening” storm surges. It later dropped to a class 3 storm with most winds of 125 mph because it approached New Orleans.

“This is one of the strongest storms to make landfall here in modern times,” Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards stated at a press convention. “We can expect devastating impacts to continue for the next 24 hours or so,” he added.

Edwards stated it will be tough to gauge the extent of the injury till the storm cleared and authorities have been in a position to survey the area on Monday morning.

Many Gulf Coast residents had evacuated within the days earlier than the storm, clogging airports and roads out of city. Those that remained within the area acquired dire warnings from officers because the storm landed.

The National Weather Service stated in a tweet on Sunday morning: “If you are sheltering in place, go to an interior room of your house. Prepare to hunker down for the next 24 hours. Conditions will be worsening throughout the day as Ida makes landfall! DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT, go outside during this time!”

A utility employee pictures waves as they slam in opposition to a sea wall of the town marina as outer bands of Hurricane Ida arrive Sunday in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. © AP

US president Joe Biden authorized emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi forward of the storm and federal companies had been deployed to assist arrange shelters within the area and assist restoration efforts.

Speaking to reporters throughout a go to on Sunday to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Biden stated: “This is going to be a devastating hurricane, a life-threatening storm. So please, all you folks, [in] Mississippi and Louisiana, Mississippi and, God knows, maybe even further east, take precautions.”

He added: “We are going to be here to help the Gulf region get back on its feet as quickly as possible, as long as it takes.”

The storm shortly gathered energy in a single day, fuelled by a pocket of unusually heat and deep water within the Gulf of Mexico, which some scientists have attributed to the consequences of local weather change.

An area resident on a jet ski tows a canoe to a flooded home as Hurricane Ida arrives Sunday in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. © AP

Ida was taking purpose on the metropolis of New Orleans 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina unleashed a wall of wind and water on the town, overwhelming the low-lying area’s flood defences and killing greater than 1,800 folks.

Despite fears of widespread injury from the large storm, officers stated they have been assured a brand new $15bn system of pumps, levees and flood limitations constructed after Katrina had made the area higher ready for storms like Ida.

That system was “expected to hold and perform as intended”, Edwards stated. “Will it be tested? Yes. But is was built for this moment.”

A surging Covid-19 outbreak within the area threatened to complicate the storm response as hospitals have been already stretched to capability and quick of employees with coronavirus-related hospitalisations and deaths at file highs.

“Our hospitals are currently overwhelmed assisting patients with Covid-19; we ask that trips to the emergency room be limited to strict urgent medical needs,” the New Orleans Health Department stated in a press assertion.

More than 320,000 clients in Louisiana had been left with out energy within the first hours after the storm made landfall, based on PowerOutage.US, which tracks disruptions.

“We know that the longer the power stays out the more challenging this is going to be,” stated governor Edwards.

The storm was additionally sending ripples via power markets because it barrelled via the center of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil-producing area, threatening “extensive damage” to refineries, petrochemical amenities and liquefied pure fuel export crops, based on S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Oil producers, together with Shell and BP, evacuated offshore platforms throughout the Gulf forward of the highly effective storm, shutting off 1.74m barrels a day of crude output, 96 per cent of the world’s manufacturing and greater than 15 per cent of whole US output, based on federal authorities information.