Residents of high-risk areas left their homes and lined up to stock up on supplies before the arrival of Hurricane Ida, billed as “extremely dangerous.” The phenomenon is expected to touch land in the southern United States this weekend after hitting western Cuba.
The US National Weather Service is predicting a “potentially deadly storm wave” when the hurricane hits the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, warning of “catastrophic wind damage” and urging people in affected areas to take advice from authorities locations.
“The time to act is NOW. Hurricane Ida is predicted to hit land as a Category 4 hurricane,” warned the National Weather Service’s New Orleans office in a tweet.
It is the second highest level on the Saffir-Simpson wind hurricane scale, with a minimum force of 209 kilometers per hour.
Louisiana declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the storm, which will hit the United States on Sunday, 16 years after the devastating Hurricane Katrina, which flooded 80% of New Orleans and killed more than 1,800 people.
Authorities have already ordered mandatory evacuations outside the protected areas of New Orleans and flood-prone coastal cities such as the Grand Isle.
“People are packing and leaving now,” Grand Isle Police Chief Scooter Resweber told local media.
The declaration of a state of emergency, approved by President Joe Biden, will channel supplemental federal funds and aid to the southern state to strengthen its emergency preparedness and response efforts.
The hurricane hit the coast on Friday night in western Cuba with category 1, with maximum sustained winds close to 128 km per hour.
Hurricane Ida approaches Cuba — Photo: Reuters
Ida hit the island in the province of Pinar del Río, the current epicenter of the island’s coronavirus pandemic.
On Twitter, Cuba’s Health Minister, José Ángel Portal, warned this Friday about a “double threat”: the meteorological phenomenon in the midst of the worst moment of the pandemic.
More than 10,000 people were evacuated and power was cut before the storm, as a precautionary measure. In Havana, public transport was suspended at 12:00.
The NHC said the storm would likely produce “considerable” rain and flooding from southeast Louisiana to the coast of Mississippi and Alabama.
Last week, a rare tropical storm hit the northeast coast of the United States, leaving thousands of residents without power, uprooting trees and causing record rainfall.
VIDEO: Tropical storm Henri hits the coast in the northeast of the US
Scientists have warned of an increase in the number of strong cyclones as the ocean’s surface warms due to climate change, posing a growing threat to the world’s coastal communities.