The storm may be the worst in Louisiana since the 1850s
More than 122,000 Louisiana homes and businesses have already lost electricity
Hurricane Katrina hit the state hard 16 years ago
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Hurricane Ida hit the U.S. coast on Sunday as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm that could leave much of Louisiana’s coast underwater, while the state struggles with a surge in cases of the already overburdened COVID-19 virus. Hospitals.
Ida gained strength overnight and hit the coast near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. local time, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
This is the toughest test of the hundreds of miles of new levees being built around New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the coast 16 years ago, inundating historically black neighborhoods and killing more than 1,800 people.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the storm could be the worst on record in the state since the 1850s, and more than 122,000 Louisiana homes and businesses lost electricity, mostly in the southeastern part of the state, according to the website. .
Hurricane and Covid
The state is also dealing with the third highest rate of new Covid-19 infections in the country. Edwards said hospitals are treating about 2,450 coronavirus patients, noting that many of them were already full.
Just three days after emerging as a tropical storm in the Caribbean, Ida turned into a Category 4 hurricane on the five-stage Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, according to the NHC.
Palm trees shivered with rain in New Orleans on Sunday, as retired Robert Ruffin, 68, moved with his family from his home in the eastern part of the city to a hotel downtown.
“I thought it would be safer,” he said. “It’s a double problem this time because of Covid.”
The National Weather Service in New Orleans has asked many residents who don’t have indoor rooms — without windows or access to the outside — to seek shelter in closets or in their bathrooms for protection.
US energy companies have cut offshore oil production by 91 percent, and gasoline refineries have halted operations at Louisiana plants in the storm’s path. Regional fuel prices have risen in anticipation of production losses and increased demand due to evictions.
(Pur Jessica Resnick Olt E Devika Krishna Kumar)
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