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Hurricane Ida Tests New Orleans

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, another harsh storm hits New Orleans.

By:  |  August 30, 2021  |    594 Words

Communities across the United States have had a hard month when it comes to natural disasters – from fires in California to floods in Tennessee. Now, Hurricane Ida has struck the Gulf Coast, causing devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi. On Sunday, August 29, the Category 4 hurricane brought heavy rain and winds. It landed near Port Fourchon, in the state of Louisiana.

On Monday morning, August 30, Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm as wind speeds dropped from 105 mph to around 60 mph. The storm has traveled to Jackson, Mississippi.

Hurricane Ida storm

Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), there are still strong winds and flooding over southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. New Orleans is experiencing a full blackout as electricity is down for more than one million people. Over 40,000 residents in Mississippi are also without power.

People in the areas have been told not to use water unless they need it, since extra water uses like running dishwashers and washing machines could overload the sewer systems. The Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans sent out a message saying, “In order to prevent sewage backups, we have asked residents to limit water usage at home, thus decreasing the amount of wastewater we must remove.”

Hurricane Katrina flood

Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina/Photo by U.S. Coast Guard

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed that at least one person had died due to the storm. Edwards asked President Biden to declare a “major disaster” for his state, and the president agreed to send federal help.

Tim Kerner Jr., the mayor of Jean Lafitte in Louisiana, announced that water had gone over levees built to prevent flooding. He said that residents should prepare themselves. Speaking to WGNO-TV, Mayor Kerner said:

“We have a small group trying to take out the people in the most imminent danger. This is a very dangerous situation. I’ve never seen so much water in my life. We’ve lost our school and everything, but now with people’s lives, it has turned into a total rescue mission.

“People’s lives are I believe at stake now … We are trying to get them out as soon as fast as we can and as soon as this weather [breaks] we are going to send an army to them.”

Biden Hurricane Ida

President Joe Biden speaks on the preparations being made by FEMA for Hurricane Ida (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Hurricane Ida arrived in New Orleans exactly 16 years after another devastating storm, Hurricane Katrina. That event in 2005 was one of the worst to affect the area, causing 1,800 deaths and billions of dollars in damage to property. There were severe floods, caused by engineering problems with the levees. Thousands of people were left stranded with no access to food, drinking water, or shelter. Afterward, new levees were built to keep water out of the city. Hurricane Ida is presenting a test for the upgraded system.

President Biden spoke from the FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., stressing that federal resources will help deal with the situation. He warned, “This will be a devastating, devastating hurricane — this will be a life-threatening storm.” On the other hand, he added that the government is well prepared, “I’ve been around for a lot of hurricanes, and I don’t think we’ve ever had as much preparation.”

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