The powerful Hurricane Ida, which made landfall on Sunday, August 29 in Louisiana with winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km / h), significantly reduced its travel speed, increasing its danger and prolonging concern about its possible effects on New Orleans.
According to the latest bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), issued at 4:00 p.m. local time in Louisiana (9:00 p.m. GMT), Ida lost some force and generates maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (215 km / h) and is traveling at 10 miles per hour (17 km / h).
This slowdown causes the strong winds and rains to last longer in the areas through which the cyclone passes, which so far has not caused known personal losses, although it still needs to pass through the large urban centers.
The New Orleans emergency preparedness agency NOLA Ready indicated that due to this situation city dwellers must expect “powerful winds and heavy rain” during the next night.
And the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a warning of possible floods in New Orleans, which is located in the northeastern quadrant of Ida according to the trajectory pattern, the most dangerous due to the force of its winds and rains.
The biggest concern in the city is whether the levees that protect it from the water of Lake Pontchartrain will withstand, something that did not happen in 2005 when these barriers gave way to the force of Hurricane Katrina and the city was flooded, causing the death of more than 1,800 persons.
Such is the force of the wind and storm surge that two popular city tour ferries broke loose from their moorings and sailed uncontrollably upriver along the riverbank in New Orleans, local media reported.
And all because of the strong entry of seawater into the Mississippi channel, the river temporarily changed the direction of its course.
The powerful storm forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights at several airports in the region, some of which already anticipated that they will remain closed this Monday, August 30.
Also read: hurricane could leave “uninhabitable areas” for weeks on the Louisiana coast
To this must be added that nearly 500,000 users lost electricity, according to the specialized website Poweroutage.us, and it is feared that this figure could be much higher as Ida enters the country heading north.
On the contrary, Ida’s force gradually dissipated as it moved northward and away from the coast, and 4 hours after making landfall it is close to yielding to category 3, located in winds of 130 miles per hour that currently moves the storm.
But even so, the authorities warn of the danger of the hurricane, including the president, Joe Biden, who this Sunday urged residents not to trust themselves, including in areas far from the coast.
During a meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Biden said that the devastation caused by Ida will probably be “immense” and that the population must be patient because recovery can “take a long time”, even ” weeks in some places ”.
In addition: Storm Henri leaves flooding, thousands of people without power and canceled flights in the northeastern United States
Before the arrival of the cyclone, the president approved the request for an emergency declaration from Louisiana and Mississippi, which allowed sending more than 2,400 FEMA personnel, as well as 12 search and rescue teams, 2.5 million meals and 3.1 million liters of water. .
Oil industry affected
Ida made landfall in Port Fourchon, where about 18% of the national oil supply of the United States passes, according to data from the local Chamber of Commerce, due to the proximity of a good number of platforms located in the Gulf of Mexico.
So much so that 95% of oil production in this region had to be suspended due to the arrival of the hurricane.
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And Colonial Pipeline, the country’s largest pipeline network, announced this Sunday that it was temporarily closing two of its pipelines as a precautionary measure.