Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm and was downgraded to a Category 3 by evening — the same strength Katrina was when it came ashore in 2005.
The weather system blasted into New Orleans blowing off roofs and even reversing the flow of the Mississippi River.
It could plunge much of the Louisiana shoreline under water, having intensified faster than experts had predicted. Residents of the Gulf Coast have been evacuating their homes and businesses have been shut down.
Although it made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, it soon slowed to a Category 3 but authorities said this did not mean a reduced threat.
Ida was packing maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (175 kilometers) per hour, and the powerful storm knocked out power for all of New Orleans.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Ida could be the most powerful storm to hit the state since 1850.
“The storm surge is just tremendous. We can see the roofs have been blown off of the port buildings in many places.”
In the city’s famous French Quarter, debris can be seen scattered across the streets.
The storm “presents some very challenging difficulties for us, with the hospitals being so full of COVID-19 patients,” Governor Edwards said.
With a low rate of vaccination, Louisiana is among the states hit hardest by the pandemic, severely stressing hospitals.
The memory of Katrina, which made landfall on August 29, 2005, is still fresh in Louisiana, where it caused some 1,800 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.
– YAHOO NEWS