16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans, Hurricane Ida which made landfall on Sunday is devastating the city again, according to the New York Times.
The storm has brought intense flooding and 150 mph winds, making it the fifth strongest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. mainland. On Monday morning, a 60-year-old man died in Ascension Parish, south of Baton Rouge, after a tree fell on his home, authorities said.
Over the weekend, thousands were ordered to evacuate as the storm made its way toward the region and multiple evacuation shelters have been opened statewide.
The Louisiana National Guard tweeted last night that 4,900 guard members, 195 high-water vehicles, 73 rescue boats, and 34 helicopters have been deployed to help with rescue efforts.
“This is one of the strongest storms to make landfall here in modern times,” Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said in a briefing on Sunday before the storm hit.
Speaking at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters on Sunday, President Joe Biden noted that “the devastation is likely to be immense” and promised that “as soon as the storm passes, we’re going to have the country’s full might behind the rescue and recovery.”
Electric utilities reported that slightly more than 1 million homes and businesses were without power in Louisiana and another 100,000 in Mississippi. Entergy, a major power company in Louisiana, texted residents that all of New Orleans was without power because of “catastrophic transmission damage.”
Unlike the catastrophe of the levees breaking during Katrina, the government of Louisiana believes that they are much better prepared for this storm, Yahoo reports.
“There is no doubt that the coming days and weeks are going to be extremely difficult for our state, and many, many people are going to be tested in ways that we can only imagine today,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a Sunday press conference. “But I can also tell you, as a state, we have never been more prepared.”
Louisiana’s revamped $14 billion levee system appeared to have held up against Ida.
“It didn’t overtop. There was no failure. The situation in New Orleans, as bad as it was today without the power, would be so much worse,” Edwards said. “This storm packed a very powerful punch. It delivered the surge that was forecasted, the wind that was forecasted, and the rain.”
In addition to the potential impact of the storm, Covid-19 deaths in Louisiana have climbed to their highest levels of the coronavirus pandemic, complicating matters all the more. Hospitals, already filled or near capacity by an influx of Covid-19 patients. The powerful storm blew portions of the roof off one hospital outside New Orleans, Lady of the Sea General Hospital.