Devastating storm inches inland, wreaking havoc on millions
By Alex Budzynski, Editor-in-Chief
Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm, made landfall on the Louisiana coast yesterday, leaving at least one man dead and millions without power.
Conditions worsened overnight as the storm slowed down on land, concentrating heavy winds and several inches of rainfall on counties outside of New Orleans. Many residents of the area have been trapped in their homes or forced to the roofs of their houses due to rapidly rising water levels over 15 feet.
Winds over 150 mph have also resulted in damaged buildings and uprooted trees, one of which fell on a house and killed a 60-year-old man, the first victim of the storm.
Additionally, the rain and wind have compromised the central power plant, leaving over a million Louisiana residents without power through the night, a reality which will likely continue for days.
Experts have drawn parallels between this storm and Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall 16 years ago, to the day. The strongest storm since Katrina, Hurricane Ida will put new safety measures to the test.
Tim Kerner Jr., the mayor of Jean Lafittee — a county directly hit by the storm — Mayor Kerner spoke to Ida’s severity in an interview last night.
“We have a bunch of people trapped that we can’t get to, one being the wind, we can’t put boats in the water, it’s just too rough, it would be life-threatening for the person operating the boat at this time. We tried to do high water trucks, we can’t get through the water,” he said.
According to Kerner, the storm’s surge overpowered a levee, causing a bridge to collapse early this morning that is preventing emergency responders from reaching civilians. Emergency phone lines were also knocked out late last night, making 911 unreachable in certain areas.
President Joe Biden has declared a state of disaster in Louisiana, which frees federal aid for people and municipalities in the affected areas.
Now a tropical storm, Ida is hovering over Mississippi, and continues to creep northeast as it slowly weakens. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are expected to receive heavy rainfall tomorrow as Ida rolls past the area.