A powerful and violent hurricane touched down on Sunday in Louisiana and promptly began wreaking havoc on the same area hit by the historic Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago to the day.
Photos and video footage showed Hurricane Ida, a category 4 storm that made landfall in Louisiana late Sunday morning with winds of up to 150 miles per hour, was drenching the Gulf Coast and causing flooding at a time when its residents were dealing with the competing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has surged in the region in recent weeks.
The combination made for an all-out emergency in and near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, which is located about 97 miles south of New Orleans, which was already feeling the effects from Ida, including and especially the high winds and heavy rains.
Eight Louisiana parishes were under an extreme wind warning out of fear that “widespread destructive” winds could reach speeds of up to 135 miles per hour, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
While Louisiana was the first state directly hit by Ida, meteorologists at the National Weather Service predicted that “life-threatening impacts will spread” into neighboring Mississippi.
“Take cover now!” the warning said. “Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to a safe room in your shelter. Take action now to protect your life.”
The Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi reported that heavy rains from Hurricane Ida were already being felt in the state on Sunday afternoon. Dozens of schools and businesses have already announced their closures for Monday and multiple counties in Mississippi were issued warnings and curfews amid power outages and road closures. In Jackson, the state’s capital city with a population that is more than 82% Black, the mayor declared a state of emergency
There were no injuries or deaths immediately reported because of Hurricane Ida.
However, if anybody requires rescuing or any similar help, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Hurricane Ida would prevent that from happening until Monday morning at the earliest.
“It’s weather dependent and quite frankly, before the weather gets good enough for us to respond it’s also going to be dark,” Edwards said on Sunday. “We will be ready at first light tomorrow morning to go out to those areas that we know already have received the most damaging impacts from the storm.”
Edwards emphasized later: “Nobody should be expecting that tonight a first responder is going to be able to answer a call for help.”
That was likely not what the residents of Jefferson Parish wanted to hear.
NOLA.com reported that Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said she had already fielded about 75 rescue requests from her constituents who decoded against evacuating before Hurricane Ida landed.
Jefferson Parish was also experiencing significant flooding, Lee Sheng said.
“It looks very, very bad,” Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said of the barrier island at the southern tip of the parish. “The surge is very high.”
In addition to the emergencies caused by Hurricane Ida, Louisiana and Mississippi are the states with the top two highest rates of new COVID-19 cases and their hospitals are already stretched extra thin, two opposing forces that could collide to disastrous effects as rescue and recovery begins following the powerful storm.
Keep reading to see some more devastating scenes in and around the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Ida.
A section of a building’s roof is seen after being blown off during rain and winds in the French Quarter of New Orleans on August 29, 2021 during Hurricane Ida.
A person crosses the street during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans.
Storm surge begins to encroach on Louisiana Route 1 ahead of Hurricane Ida in Golden Meadow, Louisiana, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.
A cyclist wears a face mask as they ride through rain and high winds on Canal Street in New Orleans on August 29, 2021 during Hurricane Ida.
A truck is seen in heavy winds and rain from hurricane Ida in Bourg, Louisiana on August 29, 2021.
Heavy winds and rain from hurricane Ida are seen in Bourg, Louisiana on August 29, 2021.
8. Hurricane Ida Bears Down On Louisiana As A Major StormSource:Getty
Utility workers play in the wind from Hurricane Ida as they wait for the storm to pass to begin repairs on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans.
A worker rides a bicycle to deliver food in the French Quarter during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans.
A woman walks her dog in the French Quarter during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
A police car cruises through the French Quarter during Hurricane Ida on August 29, 2021 in New Orleans.
The Royal Dutch Shell Plc Norco refinery as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Norco, Louisiana, on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.
Barges docked on the Mississippi River as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Destrehan, Louisiana, on Aug. 29, 2021.
14. Ida Battering Louisiana With Winds Stronger Than KatrinaSource:Getty
A resident seeks shelter from the wind and rain as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2021.
Motorists drive down Canal Street as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in New Orleans, on Aug. 29, 2021.
Rain batters Canal Street in New Orleans on August 29, 2021 after Hurricane Ida made landfall.
Rain batters downtown New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2021 after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Port Fourchon, 100 miles south of New Orleans, packing maximum sustained winds estimated at 150 miles per hour.