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Storm Could Be Among the Strongest to Hit Louisiana Since the 1850s, Governor Warns

A powerful storm is expected to hit the Gulf Coast of Louisiana as early as Wednesday, bringing with it a risk of flooding and tornadoes. Gov. John Bel Edwards warned residents in the state to be prepared for “life-threatening” conditions.

Here’s what you should be aware of:





The window of opportunity to prepare for Ida is ‘quickly closing,’ Governor of Louisiana Issues A Warning

Hurricane Ida, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards, will be “one of the fiercest storms to strike anyplace in Louisiana since at least the 1850s.” By late Sunday or early Monday, the hurricane is anticipated to make landfall in the state as a Category 4 storm.

We’re still expecting a Category 4 storm to make landfall tomorrow afternoon or evening, most likely in Terrebonne Parish. At this time, landfall is expected at 7 p.m. I want to make sure everyone understands that here is where the eye wall’s leading edge will pass from the Gulf to the land. About half of the storm is already over land at that moment. So don’t believe the hype and believe you have till 7 p.m. tomorrow, tomorrow evening, before the storm hits the ground. That is not the case. At landfall, the wind speed is expected to be in the region of 140 miles per hour. This is a powerful storm. Almost the whole state is under some kind of watch or warning. As a result, everyone should use extreme caution. I don’t want anyone farther inland to be caught off guard, since sustained gusts of 110 miles per hour are possible as far north as the Louisiana-Mississippi border. So, to summarize, this will be one of the most powerful storms to strike Louisiana since at least the 1850s. We may also inform you that your window of opportunity is rapidly closing. It is quickly coming to an end.

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Hurricane Ida, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards, will be “one of the fiercest storms to strike anyplace in Louisiana since at least the 1850s.” By late Sunday or early Monday, the hurricane is anticipated to make landfall in the state as a Category 4 storm. CreditCredit… The New York Times’ Emily Kask

On Saturday, meteorologists and state authorities warned that Hurricane Ida, which is quickly strengthening and barreling toward Louisiana, may be one of the most powerful storms to strike the state in more than a century.

“We can sum it up by saying this will be one of the strongest storms to strike anyplace in Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a press conference, warning people that the time to escape was running out.

Ida is prompting widespread evacuations in Louisiana after passing over the Cayman Islands as a tropical storm and reaching Cuba as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday. The National Hurricane Center declared it a Category 3 storm early Sunday, then upgraded it to a Category 4 hurricane an hour later, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

The storm is predicted to reach Louisiana as a “very hazardous major hurricane” later Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

On Saturday, Mr. Edwards added, “It’s extremely difficult to think of another big hurricane like Hurricane Ida making landfall on that date.” “However, I want you to understand that we are not in the same situation as we were 16 years ago.”

The government has spent billions of dollars to improve the storm protection infrastructure in the area. Ida will do a thorough examination of the system.

A hurricane warning was in place from Intracoastal City, La., to the mouth of the Pearl River on Saturday, affecting New Orleans is a city in the United States. and the surrounding area. Coastal counties in Mississippi and Alabama, as well as those bordering the Gulf of Mexico, issued hurricane warnings to their populations.

The storm will have “life-threatening effects,” said to Kevin Gilmore of the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

Mr. Gilmore said, “We’re not saying ‘possible,’ we’re saying ‘will occur,’ because we want people to take this very seriously.” “I cannot emphasize more how critical this situation is.”

Last year, Louisiana was hit by numerous hurricanes, including Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

Governor John Bel Edwards said, “This will be one of the strongest storms to strike anyplace in Louisiana since at least the 1850s.” Credit… The Advocate/Hilary Scheinuk/Associated Press

Storm surge warnings have also been issued. According to the National Hurricane Center, depending on the tides, the surge in Morgan City, La., may reach 15 feet and 8 feet in Lake Pontchartrain. A storm surge warning was also issued for east Alabama and Florida’s coastal regions.

According to the center, total rainfall accumulation in southeast Louisiana may exceed 20 inches, with flash floods, catastrophic wind damage, and life-threatening storm surge all possible.

“Preparations to safeguard life and property in the warning region along the northern Gulf Coast should be completed today,” the center warned.

Ida reached maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour on Saturday evening, making it a Category 2 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Hurricane Center’s communications officer, Dennis Feltgen, stated, “The strengthening process is certainly in full flow.”

For homeowners and emergency responders along the Gulf Coast, the most pressing issue is how much stronger it will grow before reaching landfall in the United States.

On Thursday, Mr. Edwards announced a state of emergency, and on Saturday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey proclaimed a state of emergency for the state’s coastal and western counties, stating that local authorities were expecting “the potential of flooding and possibly spinoff tornadoes in parts of Alabama.” Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi declared a state of emergency on Saturday, enabling state resources to be used for response and recovery.

Storms are becoming more intense on average over the last decade, according to research, in part because the seas, which supply the energy for hurricanes, are becoming warmer as a consequence of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Ida, on the other hand, will rapidly intensify since the Gulf, as is typical at the end of the summer, is extremely warm.

Rapid intensification is defined as a sustained wind increase of at least 35 mph in less than 24 hours, according to the hurricane center. Hurricane Laura strengthened by 45 miles per hour in the 24 hours before making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm in late August during the highly active 2020 season.

Ida, according to the National Hurricane Center, is expected to bring heavy rain from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi and Alabama late Sunday and into Monday. According to the National Weather Service, tropical storm force winds will reach along the coast as early as Saturday night, before the storm makes landfall on Sunday afternoon or evening. After moving inland, the storm may cause flooding in Tennessee, where 20 people were killed by flash floods last weekend.

On Twitter, Chip Kline, executive assistant to the governor of Louisiana for coastal activities, stated, “Based on the current course and intensity of Ida, this storm will test our hurricane protection systems in a manner they haven’t been tested before.” “It’s moments like this that make us realize how critical it is to continue to preserve south Louisiana.”

The date has been changed to August 27, 2021.

An previous version of this page misrepresented the position of Tropical Storm Ida due to an editing mistake. Early Friday, it was in the Caribbean Sea, not the Gulf of Mexico.

Bella Witherspoon, left, and Sara Marriott prepare their boat ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ida in Ocean Springs, on the Mississippi coast.

Bella Witherspoon, left, and Sara Marriott prepare their boat at Ocean Springs, Mississippi, ahead of Hurricane Ida’s arrival. Credit… Associated Press/Hannah Ruhoff/The Sun Herald

The National Weather Service warned that Hurricane Ida would bring “life-threatening” weather to Louisiana and portions of Mississippi, advising residents to flee inland.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm may impact different areas of the region when it makes landfall on Sunday afternoon or evening.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana’s River Parishes and Northshore

New Orleans

  • Residents in the metro region may anticipate gusts with up to 110 miles per hour and up to 20 inches of rain.

Louisiana’s coast

Mississippi’s southwest region

Mississippi’s coast

  • The water level may rise to 11 feet. Winds of up to 74 mph are expected, as well as up to 12 inches of rain.

    Tornadoes are probable in all of these locations, according to the National Weather Service.

Jawan Williams shoveled sand for a sandbag held by his son Jayden Williams at the Frederick Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette, La., on Saturday.

At the Frederick Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette, La., on Saturday, Jawan Williams shoveled sand for a sandbag carried by his son Jayden Williams. Credit… Associated Press/Matthew Hinton

Hurricane Ida is anticipated to hit the Gulf Coast on Sunday, bringing severe winds, storm surges, and rain 16 years after Hurricane Katrina, one of the most expensive natural disasters in American history, which killed over 1,800 people and caused more than $100 billion in damage.

The storm surge from Ida is expected to be less catastrophic than it was during Katrina. Because the storm started as a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico before weakening as it neared landfall, it produced massive storm surges that flooded portions of the Mississippi coast by more than 20 feet. Ida’s storm surge is expected to be 10 to 15 feet high, according to current estimates.

“Fifteen feet may cause a lot of damage,” said Barry Keim, a Louisiana State University professor and Louisiana State Climatologist. “However, it will pale in comparison to Katrina’s devastation.”

Following Katrina, improvements to the levee system have better prepared the New Orleans metro region for storm surges.

According to Dr. Keim, the regions most likely to see the most catastrophic surge from Ida may be worse prepared to manage it than the Katrina-affected areas.

Ida is anticipated to make landfall to the west of Katrina’s path, causing the most severe storm surge effects along the Louisiana coast west of the Mississippi River rather than along the Mississippi coast east of the river, as Katrina did.

“In and around southeast Louisiana, we’re testing a different portion of the flood protection than we did in Katrina,” Dr. Keim said. “It’s possible that some of the weak connections in this area haven’t been highlighted as much as they should have been.”

While Ida’s storm surge is anticipated to be less catastrophic than Katrina’s, Ida’s winds and rain are forecast to be greater than those that wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Ida is projected to hit the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, whereas Katrina hit the coast as a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds.

“It could be very devastating,” Jamie Rhome, acting deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, said. “Especially some of those high-rise structures are simply not designed to withstand that wind load.”

Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in southwest Louisiana last year as a Category 4 hurricane, wreaked havoc with strong gusts reaching 150 mph. The hurricane claimed the lives of 42 people and inflicted more than $19 billion in damage.

Ida’s rainfall is expected to be higher than Katrina’s.

Ida is expected to deluge the Gulf Coast with 8 to 16 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches possible in certain areas, according to the National Hurricane Center. Katrina dumped 5-10 inches of rain, with up to 12 inches in the hardest-hit regions.

Mr. Rhome said, “That’s a lot of rain.” “In this scenario, the flash flood potential is very high, very high.” Such high amounts of rainfall, especially when coupled with storm surge, may have a “big and catastrophic effect” on local populations, he warned.

A wedding party marches by boarded-up buildings in the French Quarter in New Orleans on Saturday.

On Saturday in New Orleans’ French Quarter, a wedding party marches past boarded-up structures. Credit… Shutterstock/EPA/Dan Anderson

NEW ORLEANS (CBSNewYork) – There is a noticeable attitude change on Bourbon Street, the city’s famous strip of immorality and ostentatious alcohol use, as a storm roars into New Orleans from the Gulf of Mexico.

It goes from tawdry to tawdry, with a touch of the apocalypse thrown in for good measure. The street was half-lived on a Friday afternoon. There were daiquiri bars open and daiquiri bars closed. Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club was shut up tight. A guy lay nearby on the sidewalk on his back, a plastic bag at his side, screaming the name “Laura.” Alternatively, “Lord.”

Six cheerful New York ladies strolled along Canal Street, wearing identical black T-shirts that said, “Birthday, beignets, and alcohol.” The birthday girl refused to reveal her identity. They walked passed The Famous Door, where a bored bar band was playing “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

The riffs spilled into the sidewalk. The chorus was yelled out by a member of the birthday squad who lifted a drink of something alcoholic and sweet.

Jessika Edouard of Long Island, another of the New York ladies, claimed that most of her group had tried and failed to get out of town before the hurricane hit. It was a nightmare of flight cancellations and poor customer service. She expressed her dissatisfaction with the flights by saying, “The flights are awful.”

They didn’t have an option but to keep the celebration going. After Ida struck, Ms Edouard and some of the others believed they would be able to escape on Monday.

Meanwhile, she said, they had stocked up on alcohol in the French Quarter. They had beignets for breakfast. They’d just met up with a Weather Channel team. They seemed to be more thrilled than afraid.

Ms. Edouard had a few words for the storm, which she delivered like a threat from one pro wrestler to the next.

“If Hurricane Ida thinks she’s going to spoil my friend’s 30th birthday, she’s in for a surprise,” she warned.

New Orleans residents prepared to leave after the mayor asked for voluntary evacuations in anticipation of Hurricane Ida.

Residents of New Orleans prepared to flee as the mayor requested voluntary evacuations in advance of Hurricane Ida. Credit… Becherer, via The Advocate/Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (CBSNewYork) – Residents of New Orleans faced a familiar choice: leave or bunker down for the length of Hurricane Ida, which was expected to deliver strong winds and heavy rain to their city.

Officials encouraged those who planned to evacuate to do so by Saturday afternoon or evening, as the storm was anticipated to make landfall Sunday afternoon or evening. On the subject, residents came to a range of conclusions.

Lacy Duhe, 39, and Jeremy Housely, 42, chose to stay in their Lower Ninth Ward apartment on Deslonde Street. They expressed concern that if they fled and ended up in a shelter, their unvaccinated children might acquire Covid-19. They had had recently paid their monthly expenses and were unable to go.

Ja-nyi, the couple’s 11-year-old daughter, stated, “It seems serious.” “I wasn’t alive during Katrina. But I’m sure it leveled a lot of buildings.”

On Saturday afternoon, Mary Picot, 71, went out the door with bags of food and medication. She was unconcerned about floods and was certain that the levees would hold. She decided to depart because of the possibility of power disruptions.

She said, “My spouse has diabetes.” “We need to keep his medication as cool as possible.”

Donald Lyons, 38, was loading up a silver Nissan car under a cloudy sky in Hollygrove on Saturday afternoon. Hollygrove is one of the historically Black working-class areas that was severely damaged after Hurricane Katrina struck. The vehicle, which was transporting his wife, three children, and mother-in-law, was overflowing with luggage and blankets. They were on their way to Sugar Land, Texas, some 27 miles southwest of Houston, where they had relatives who had fled following Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago and never returned.

Mr. Lyons said, “I’m simply trying to go someplace secure.”

Barbara Butler, 65, a housekeeper down the street, said she felt the city was safer now that all of the additional flood protection had been installed. She planned to stay at home and weather the storm.

She added, “It provided us some comfort.” “It’s preferable than no relief.”

Ms. Butler was sitting on the porch with her husband, Curtis Duck, 63, and her brother, Ray Thomas, in a home that had been inundated with eight feet of water during Katrina, according to Ms. Butler.

Mr. Duck expressed his dissatisfaction at having to evacuate on a regular basis.

“We watch the news,” he said. “Everyone is urging us to get going, get going, get going.”

Victor Pizarro, a health advocate, and his spouse chose to stay in their Gentilly Terrace home to weather the storm, but they indicated they would leave town if they lost power for a long amount of time.

Mr. Pizarro said in a phone interview while driving across town in search of a spare component for his generator, “It’s certainly upsetting to even have to think about this and make these choices.” “At this point, being a New Orleanian and a Louisianian is exhausting.”

Andy Horowitz and his family chose to leave their Algiers Point house, which is located immediately across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter. Mr. Horowitz is the author of “Katrina: A History, 1915-2015,” and he is one of the many academics and Louisiana residents concerned that the city’s new flood protection system, as large as it is, may prove insufficient for a sinking city in the path of more frequent and powerful storms as the world warms.

Mr. Horowitz said, “Every summer, New Orleans plays a game of Russian roulette, and every summer, we pull the trigger.”





The Mayor of New Orleans is urging residents to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ida.

On Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida is anticipated to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Prior to the storm, Mayor LaToya Cantrell advised people to either leave immediately or seek shelter in a safe location.

What we know is that now, right now, everyone must make the voluntary choice to leave, which I strongly advise you to do. If you want to depart, you must do so immediately. We need to make sure that everyone is in a secure location, whether they’re leaving willingly or staying hunkered down onsite. Hopefully, wherever that is, it is your home, in our city, but in a secure location. Expect strong winds, power disruptions, heavy rain, and tornadoes. This storm, according to what I’ve been informed, will not lessen in any way. There will be no indications that this storm will diminish, and there is always the possibility that the storm could intensify. This is still a highly tumultuous scenario. And, once again, we see that time is not on our side. It’s simply that it’s happening at a breakneck pace, that it’s expanding and increasing.

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On Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida is anticipated to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Prior to the storm, Mayor LaToya Cantrell advised people to either leave immediately or seek shelter in a safe location. CreditCredit… Associated Press/Matthew Hinton

NEW ORLEANS (CBSNewYork) – With Hurricane Ida monitoring charts continuously indicating a course toward southeast Louisiana, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a harsh warning on Saturday, advising city residents to evacuate as soon as possible.

“This storm will not diminish in any way, and there is always the possibility that it may strengthen,” Ms. Cantrell stated at a press conference. “We don’t have much time on our hands. It’s increasing and expanding at a fast pace.”

Residents who want to remain in the city can expect prolonged power outages, restricted emergency services, and many days of high temperatures after the storm passes, according to municipal authorities.

Collin Arnold, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, stated, “The first 72 is on you.” “It will be tough for rescuers to get to you for the first three days.”

Hurricane Ida is expected to be a Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall on Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed over 1,800 people.

Ms. Cantrell said, “What we learned after Hurricane Katrina is that we are all first responders.” “It’s all about looking after one another.”

Delery Street in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans was flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Delery Street in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward was inundated. Credit… New York Times/ Nicole Bengiveno

NEW ORLEANS (CBSNewYork) – The Rev. Willie L. Calhoun Jr., a 71-year-old Lower Ninth Ward resident, was on his way out of town in his Lincoln Continental on Saturday afternoon. He had no idea where he was. He guessed it was somewhere in Alabama.

When Hurricane Betsy flooded his home in the Lower Ninth in 1965, Rev. Calhoun recalls his father punching a hole in the ceiling of his family’s home. When Hurricane Katrina hit, he and his family took the decision to evacuate the area before the hurricane damaged their houses, unlike many of his neighbors, who died when the levees collapsed.

Katrina’s devastation has become an ingrained part of life in the area. He had planned to attend a 16th anniversary commemoration on Sunday, which would include a high school marching band and a theme of “healing, uniting, and building our communities,” according to him.

“The trauma and the pain that is present,” he said. “I have a buddy who lost his mother and grandchildren as a result of Hurricane Katrina. It’s difficult to have that horror resurface every year.”

But, 16 years later, he had a more nuanced view of the area. He was optimistic that the city’s storm protection system, which included massive flood barriers, new gates, and levees, would keep the Ninth Ward secure. He was concerned about the wind damage that comes with a Category 4 storm, he added.

Nonetheless, it was difficult to avoid disappointment. Jobs for Black males seemed to be scarce in the city. Rev. Calhoun believes that a restructured post-Katrina educational system, largely dependent on charter schools, has not done much good. The area was in desperate need of a financial boost. There are still vacant lots and ghostly foundations of houses, many of which were formerly owned by Black people and have since washed away.

After $20 billion in infrastructural upgrades, it seemed like half progress at best, and survival with an asterisk at worst.


Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana (AP) — That won’t happen again. On Saturday, inhabitants of Lake Charles, a community of approximately 76,000 people located about 200 miles north of New Orleans, expressed this attitude.

Residents were prepared for yet another weather disaster a year after Hurricane Laura left many without electricity — and some without houses — for extended periods of time.

Last August, when Laura, a strong Category 4 hurricane, slammed into Lake Charles, it broke the windows of Juan Jose Galdames, 55, a construction worker, and his five children’s house. He was at Home Depot on Saturday, purchasing plywood to protect his windows and other susceptible areas of his home from the storm.

Mr. Galdames said, “Yes, I am a bit frightened.” “I don’t want that day to happen again. It was terrifying. I want my kids to feel secure. I’m attempting to finish everything before it gets dark.”

At a local Target store, water and food were in limited supply, and traffic stretched for miles as people sought refuge elsewhere.

Tracy Guillory, a 57-year-old carpenter, attempted to be prepared by storing up on supplies and keeping up with weather forecasts. She and her family were exhausted following a year of natural disasters, including Hurricane Delta and a winter storm that caused pipes to break and knocked down water systems throughout the area, she said.

Ms. Guillory said that her area was still rebuilding from floods in May, which rendered her SUV unusable. Her 83-year-old father and 21-year-old daughter will be hunkered down with her.

Josue Espinal, a 34-year-old construction worker, was reassuring his 4-year-old son, Anderson, that everything would be OK. At a Home Depot, the kid perched on top of a generator box as his father filled a cart with water bottles. Mr. Espinal acknowledged that he, too, was concerned. He and his family reside in a mobile home near a lake, and he needed a somewhere to stay for the following two nights.

A medical worker monitored a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Louisiana earlier this month.

Earlier this month, a medical staff in the critical care unit of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Louisiana kept an eye on a Covid-19 patient. Credit… Getty Images/Mario Tama

In Louisiana, where daily Covid fatalities hit an all-time high this week, overburdened hospitals are having to alter their usual intensive preparations for Hurricane Ida’s impending arrival.

Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s medical director, urged residents on Friday to avoid needless emergency department visits in order to maintain the state’s hospital capacity, which has been severely harmed by the pandemic’s most severe Covid spike.

Apr. 2020









Jan. 2021








Averaged over a week


In relation to this information Department of Health and Human Services, United States of America. The seven-day average is the sum of a day’s worth of data plus the preceding six days’ worth of data. The most recent number of patients with Covid-19 reported by hospitals in the state for the four days previous is currently hospitalized. Inconsistent hospital reporting may be to blame for the dips and surges. Early in the epidemic, hospitalization statistics are undercounted owing to hospitals’ inadequate reporting to the federal government.

While preparations exist to move patients from coastal regions to inland hospitals in the event of a storm, Gov. John Bel Edwards stated at a press conference that “evacuations are just not possible” this time.

“The hospitals are full,” he said. “Neither in-state nor out-of-state, we have no place to bring such patients.”

Officials had ordered hospitals to check generators and store more water, oxygen, and personal protective equipment than normal in case of a storm, according to the governor. He said that the consequences of a Category 4 storm striking when hospitals were already at capacity were “beyond what our usual preparations are.”

Mr. Edwards said that he had informed President Biden and Deanne Criswell, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that Covid-related emergency needs, such as oxygen, would be expected.

The state’s latest wave of Covid hospitalizations has surpassed its previous three peaks, necessitating assistance from federal and military medical teams due to personnel constraints. On Friday, a total of 2,684 Covid patients were admitted to hospitals throughout the state. Covid claimed the lives of 139 people in Louisiana this week, the greatest single-day death toll in the state’s history.

According to Warner L. Thomas, the group’s chief executive, Oschner Health, one of the biggest local medical systems, notified the state that it had limited capacity to handle storm-related transfers, particularly from nursing homes. Many of Oschner’s institutions, which on Friday were caring for 836 Covid patients, had put in backup power and water systems to avoid having to evacuate, he added.

The epidemic has also made it more difficult to release more patients than normal before the storm. “Going home isn’t really an option” for many Covid patients who need oxygen, according to Stephanie Manson, chief operating officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, which had 190 Covid inpatients on Friday, 79 of whom were in critical care units.

The governor expressed concern that the influx of tens of thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of evacuees may lead the state to lose ground gained in recent days as the number of new coronavirus infections started to decline. Residents on the move were advised to wear masks and maintain social distance, according to Dr. Kanter. Many of the state’s testing and immunization centers were set to shut for the time being.

The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier was constructed after Hurricane Katrina to prevent tidal surges from hurricanes from reaching New Orleans.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier was built to keep tidal surges from reaching New Orleans. Credit… Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert

NEW ORLEANS (CBSNewYork) – Local authorities are warning that if Hurricane Ida makes landfall on Louisiana’s coast on Sunday, water may overtop portions of the levees that protect areas of New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service’s storm surge prediction.

At a press conference on Friday evening, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that water overtopping the levees is “as it was designed to do.” This reflects the improvements made to the local system of earthen and reinforced levees that protects most of southeast Louisiana in the years after Hurricane Katrina, which pushed it to its limit.

Officials claimed the system was constructed to withstand a so-called “100-year storm,” or a storm with a 1% probability of occurring every year, but was strengthened to withstand a 500-year catastrophe. Armoring, splash pads — concrete sections intended to prevent the ground behind an overtopped wall from being washed away — and pumps with backup generators are among the features, according to authorities.

According to Heath Jones, an Army Corps of Engineers emergency operations manager, several levees protecting New Orleans on the western bank of the Mississippi River were at danger of overtopping due to the Weather Service’s prediction of 10 to 15 feet of storm surge. According to a government levee database, there are portions of levee as low as 10 feet.

Since being reinforced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, levees in this area of the state have seldom been tested.

“The last major tests were (hurricanes) Isaac and Gustav,” said Matt Roe, a public relations specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers, referring to storms that hit in 2012 and 2008, respectively.

“Our storm protection system will be challenged in a manner they haven’t been tried before,” says Chip Cline, chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

Homes in Lake Charles, La., were covered with blue tarps after being hit by Hurricane Laura. Then Hurricane Delta swept through, knocking down trees and scattering debris from the previous storm.

Following Hurricane Laura, homes in Lake Charles, Louisiana, were covered with blue tarps. Then Hurricane Delta hit, toppling trees and spreading debris left behind from the last storm. Credit… The New York Times’ William Widmer

Hurricane Ida is expected to be the first big storm to reach the Gulf Coast in the 2021 season, wreaking havoc on a region still reeling from the physical and emotional toll of last year’s hurricane season.

With 30 named storms, 13 of which reached hurricane status, the Atlantic hurricane season of 2020 was the busiest on record. Because there were so many storms, forecasters had to go through the alphabet and take the unusual step of referring to storms by Greek letters.

Louisiana took the worst of the storms, including Hurricane Laura, one of the most severe hurricanes to strike the state, followed six weeks later by Delta, which was weaker than Laura but followed a virtually similar course, wreaking havoc on towns already reeling from the previous storm’s destruction.

The state is still fighting to regain its footing. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that the state’s unmet recovery requirements totaled $3 billion. Local officials in Lake Charles, which was ravaged by direct hits from both hurricanes, followed by a deadly winter storm and flooding in May, recently renewed a plea for federal aid as the city has yet to recover; much of it has yet to recover, and many residents have fled due to a lack of adequate or affordable housing.

The threat posed by Hurricane Ida highlights the ongoing threat to coastal communities, as a changing climate threatens to amplify the devastating power of storms that have long been a part of life.

When President Biden proposed a substantial increase in financing to repair and strengthen infrastructure in areas most likely to be hit by severe weather in May, he highlighted the increasing risk.

A fallen tree and electricity pole were cleared as Hurricane Nora approaches Manzanillo, Mexico, on Sunday.

On Sunday, when Hurricane Nora approached Manzanillo, Mexico, a fallen tree and an electrical pole were removed. Credit…Reuters

On Saturday morning, Hurricane Nora developed in the eastern Pacific, posing a danger to most of Mexico’s western coastline as the storm intensifies and heads toward Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, and the Baja California Peninsula’s tip, according to forecasts.

Nora was approximately 425 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, as of 10 a.m. on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour as it traveled north, according to the National Hurricane Center.

For areas of western Mexico, a hurricane warning was in force.

Flooding, mudslides, and dangerous surf are predicted throughout most of Mexico’s central and northern Pacific coasts, according to forecasters.

Forecasters predict that the storm’s leftovers will bring significant rain to areas of the southwestern United States and the central Rockies by the middle of next week.

Nora was expected to pass near to Mexico’s coast by Sunday morning, before heading into the Gulf of California the next day, according to the National Hurricane Center’s predicted track.

The National Hurricane Core stated in an update that “some further strengthening is anticipated through tonight if Nora’s center does not reach landfall.” “By Sunday night or Monday, some slow weakening is anticipated, but Nora is projected to remain a hurricane until Tuesday.”

Nora is predicted to dump up to 12 inches of rain over Mexico’s western coast this weekend.

Meteorologists who are tracking Hurricane Ida this weekend have had a whirlwind few weeks after seeing three named storms develop in rapid succession in the Atlantic, delivering severe weather, floods, and destructive winds to various areas of the United States and the Caribbean.

Hurricanes and climate change are becoming more intertwined. Increased hurricanes and a greater incidence of the most severe storms may be expected as the world warms, but the total number of storms may decrease as factors such as stronger wind shear prevent lesser storms from developing.

Hurricanes are also getting wetter as the atmosphere warms, with experts claiming that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 generated much more rain than they would have without human-caused climate change. Rising sea levels are also leading to greater storm surges, which are the most dangerous part of tropical storms.