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 destruction there exactly 16 years ago.
“What I’m told is this storm is not going to subside,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Saturday.
Hurricane Ida intensified in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico before its arrival on the southern coast of the United States, expected this Sunday (29).
Mandatory evacuation is in effect for parts of New Orleans – those outside of dike protected areas – while for the rest of the city, a voluntary evacuation order has been issued.
The levees are a system of flood barriers, built to protect the lower reaches of New Orleans and reinforced after Katrina in 2005.
“If you go out [de casa], you have to do it now, “Cantrell said.” We have to make sure you’re in a safe place. Everyone, if you are going voluntarily or staying, be prepared. “
She added that those who cannot leave the city must “prepare for winds, power outages, heavy rains, tornadoes.”
More and more intense storms
The impact of climate change on the frequency of storms is not yet clear, but rising sea surface temperatures are warming the air and making more energy available to drive hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons.
As a result, these phenomena are likely to be more intense, with more extreme precipitation.
Meteorologists say the hurricane will be in Category 4 when it hits the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.
More than 80 oil rigs in the Gulf have been evacuated and half of the region’s oil and gas production has been suspended.
The Ida has already brought heavy rains to western Cuba, reaching the Ida de Juventude with winds of 120 km / h.
Coincidentally, Sunday marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans after hitting Category 3. Katrina inundated 80% of the city and killed more than 1,800 people.
Experts say if the storm waves occur at a time that coincides with high tides, seawater could flood New Orleans’ levee system and reach the city.
Louisiana Governor Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and urged everyone along the state’s coast to take shelter from Saturday night.
President Joe Biden said on Saturday that Ida “is turning into a very, very dangerous storm” and that the federal government is ready to help.