Hurricane Ida - live updates: Tropical storm declared as Mississippi feels impact of wind and floods

·37-min read

Hurricane Ida, the fifth-strongest to ever hit the mainland United States, has finally been downgraded to a tropical storm after spending 16 hours churning across Louisiana in what Joe Biden declared a “major disaster”.

Intensifying faster than experts had predicted, the weather system blasted into New Orleans exactly 16 years to the day after the devastating Hurricane Katrina, where it knocked power out across the city, tore off roofs and even reversed the flow of the Mississippi River.

Residents of the Gulf Coast evacuated their homes and businesses were shut down as much of the Louisiana coastline was plunged under water. The hurricane claimed at least one life, after a tree fell onto a residential property in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana’s governor John Bel Edwards lamented that, “if you had to draw up the worst possible path for a hurricane in Louisiana, it would be something very, very close to what we’re seeing”, warning residents of his state to brace for potentially weeks of recovery.

It was declared a tropical storm on Monday by the National Hurricane Centre, which warned that dangerous storm surges, damaging winds, and flash flooding would continue over portions of southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

Read More

Pictures capture massive traffic jams as New Orleans residents flee Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida expected to be ‘catastrophic’ category 4, Louisiana governor warns amid evacuation efforts

Key Points

  • Risk of tornadoes and life-threatening floods, officials forecast

  • Ida claims first victim in Baton Rouge

  • Power goes out across New Orleans as ‘1 million’ hit by outages

  • Biden declares major disaster, clearing way for federal aid

Storm Ida: First death reported as a million people left without power

14:13 , Gustaf Kilander

The first death stemming from Storm Ida has been reported as one million people have been left without power.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said on Sunday night that it had received reports that a person had been injured from a fallen tree in Prairieville, Louisiana, southeast of Baton Rouge. Deputies at the scene confirmed that the person had died, the first death reported during the storm.

Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Catrina that devastated the state in 2005 between 23 and 31 August.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, Ida moved inland as a category 4 storm with winds measuring up to 150mph. By 10pm ET, it had moved down to a category 2 storm with winds of up to 110mph.

In Louisiana, more than a million people are without power, as well as 100,000 in Mississippi.

Entergy New Orleans said in a Sunday night alert that all of Orleans parish had lost power “due to catastrophic transmission damage”.

Read more:

Storm Ida: First death reported as a million people left without power

Investors scramble to calculate Hurricane Ida’s impact on US oil and gas

13:54 , Andy Gregory

According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Hurricane Ida has caused the evacuation of more than half of the platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, our economics editor Anna Isaac reports.

Investors signalled that the outages could drive up US petrol prices in coming weeks, as the means of turning crude oil into major byproducts is severely limited by the hurricane and its aftermath.

US petrol prices rose more than 3 per cent as investors tried to work out how long it would take to get major oil refineries running again.

Investors scramble to calculate Hurricane Ida’s impact on US oil, gas

13:37 , Andy Gregory

As daylight begins to reveal the true scale of the damage in Louisiana, US weather service officials in New Orleans have compiled a list of streets known to have flooded.

13:13 , Andy Gregory

Here are more pictures from overnight in Louisiana.

New Orleans Police detectives look over debris from a building that collapsed (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Police detectives look over debris from a building that collapsed (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A police officer patrols past woman walking along Bourbon Street (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A police officer patrols past woman walking along Bourbon Street (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Bourg fire chief TJ Pellegrin asks a couple if they are okay after Hurricane Ida passed (Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images)
Bourg fire chief TJ Pellegrin asks a couple if they are okay after Hurricane Ida passed (Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images)

Mississippi river reversal ‘extremely uncommon’, government hydrologist says

12:51 , Andy Gregory

A Louisiana-based hydrologist has shed more light on Ida’s impact on the Mississippi River, which was found to be flowing in reverse.

“I remember, off hand, that there was some flow reversal of the Mississippi River during Hurricane Katrina, but it is extremely uncommon,” Scott Perrien, a supervising hydrologist at the US Geological Survey’s Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Centre told CNN.

The river level rose about 7 feet on Sunday due to storm surges pushing up the river at the USGS gauge, located some 20 miles south of New Orleans, during which time, Mr Perrien said, “the flow of the river slowed from about 2 feet per second down to about half a foot per second in the other direction”.

“The river is feeling the effects of the storm over a large area,” he added.

12:30 , Andy Gregory

The National Weather Service has posted this safety update:

They are urging people to take care near damaged buildings and avoid power lines and floodwaters, where possible.

12:07 , Andy Gregory

The rapid speed with which Ida intensified raises questions about how much climate change is affecting hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, The New York Times reports.

With the Atlantic Ocean’s surface temperature helping to drive storm activity, James Kossin, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the paper: “It’s very likely that human-caused climate change contributed to that anomalously warm ocean.

“Climate change is making it more likely for hurricanes to behave in certain ways.”

Mayor describes ‘worst storm surge’ in town’s history

11:56 , Andy Gregory

Some 200 people were left stranded last night in Jean Lafitte, a town 20 miles south of New Orleans where levees have been flooded by waters as deep as 12 feet.

Here is the mayor Tim Kerner’s heartbreaking assessment of the situation last night.

“At the height of a hurricane you can't get first responders out because it's just simply too dangerous. The wind speeds don't allow for that,” Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards told CNN on Sunday. “Just as soon as we can, we will be engaged in very robust search and rescue operations.”

The governor had told CNN there were 21 urban search and rescue teams from some 15 states ready to search when the storm allowed.

11:21 , Andy Gregory

Outbound American Air and United Airlines flights have been cancelled at Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

They are expected to resume on Tuesday, the airport said.

What could Ida’s economic toll be?

11:06 , Andy Gregory

Ida is sure to take a toll on the energy, chemical and shipping industries that have major hubs along the Gulf Coast, but the impact on the overall US economy should remain modest so long as damage estimates don't rise sharply and refinery shutdowns are not prolonged, economists have suggested.

“The key channel for Ida to impact the broader economy is through energy prices,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “We will have to see how much damage occurred to production in the Gulf and how long that production will stay offline.”

Brian Bethune, an economist at Boston College, said a brief jump of up to 20 cents a gallon for petrol was likely – but cautioned that the price increase could be more severe depending on how long the production shutdowns last and whether other regions have alternative supplies.

AP

10:40 , Andy Gregory

With the National Hurricane Centre warning that storm surges, dangerous winds and flash flooding will continue over parts of southern Mississippi, The Independent’s video team has this report on the flooding:

Ida now a tropical storm

10:22 , Andy Gregory

Ida has been downgraded to a tropical storm, after spending 16 hours battering the land as a hurricane.

10:05 , Andy Gregory

The region currently being battered by Ida is also already reeling from a coronavirus resurgence fuelled by low vaccination rates and the highly contagious Delta variant.

The Associated Press reports that New Orleans hospitals planned to ride out the storm with their beds nearly full, as similarly stressed hospitals elsewhere had little room for evacuated patients.

Meanwhile, shelters for those fleeing their homes carried an added risk of becoming hotspots for new infections.

911 system down in New Orleans

09:56 , Andy Gregory

The 911 system in New Orleans is “experiencing technical difficulties”, the city’s emergency communications centre said on Twitter.

People are advised to go to their nearest fire stations or flag an officer for emergency help.

Tornado threat and life-threatening flooding forecast to continue

09:34 , Andy Gregory

The National Weather Service has predicted that the threat for several tornadoes will continue on Monday.

In its latest update, issued at 10pm CDT, the National Hurricane Centre said that “life threatening storm surge inundation will continue through” the night along portions of the coast, while wind damage would continue to occur for several hours near the core of Ida as it continued inland

The hurricane “will continue to produce heavy rainfall tonight through Monday across southeast Louisiana, coastal Mississippi, and southwestern Alabama, resulting in considerable to life-threatening flash and urban flooding and significant riverine flooding impacts”, the centre said.

09:01 , Andy Gregory

Ida has been blamed for at least one death, in Louisiana’s capital city Baton Rouge.

Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office responded to a report of someone injured by a fallen tree at a home in Prairieville and confirmed the death, the office said on Sunday.

The victim was not identified.

08:46 , Andy Gregory

A nurse has captured the moment Ida tore part of the roof off a building at Ochsner Medical Centre in Jefferson, according to a local news producer.

08:43 , Andy Gregory

Here are some images of the devastation caused by the hurricane.

A section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Vehicles are damaged after the front of a building collapsed in New Orleans (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Vehicles are damaged after the front of a building collapsed in New Orleans (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

And here’s an image from the emergency operation tonight, as firefighters cut through trees on the road in Bourg.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

08:25 , Andy Gregory

Ida was churning in one of the nation's most important industrial corridors — home to a large number of petrochemical sites.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality was in contact with more than 1,500 oil refineries, chemical plants and other sensitive facilities and will respond to any reported pollution leaks or petroleum spills, agency spokesman Greg Langley said.

Louisiana is also home to two nuclear power plants, one near New Orleans and another about 27 miles northwest of Baton Rouge.

AP

Louisiana governor warns state to brace for weeks of recovery

08:08 , Andy Gregory

Louisiana’s governor John Bel Edwards has warned his state to brace for potentially weeks of recovery.

“Many, many people are going to be tested in ways that we can only imagine today,” the governor told a news conference on Sunday.

He added: “There is always light after darkness, and I can assure you we are going to get through this.”

Hurricane now Category 1

08:08 , Andy Gregory

By the small hours of Monday morning, Central Daylight Time, Ida had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph — meaning it was a Category 1 hurricane more than 12 hours after it made landfall.

Forecasters said it would rapidly weaken throughout the morning.

It made landfall as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of up to 150 mph. While it soon slowed to a Category 3, authorities had said this did not mean a reduced threat.

Biden declares major disaster

07:56 , Andy Gregory

Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Louisiana, making federal aid available to the state .

This funding includes assistance for individuals to help secure temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans for uninsured property losses.

The president said the country was praying for the best for the state and would put its "full might behind the rescue and recovery" effort once the storm passes.

Power goes out across New Orleans as 1 million hit by outages across state

07:48 , Andy Gregory

Hurricane Ida has knocked out power to all of New Orleans, home to 390,000 people, leaving those who remained there without air conditioning and refrigeration in sweltering summer heat.

The city's power supplier — Entergy — confirmed that the only power in the city was coming from generators, the city's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness said on Twitter. The message included a screenshot that cited “catastrophic transmission damage” for the power failure.

The city relies on Entergy for backup power for the pumps that remove storm water from city streets. Rain from Ida is expected to test that pump system.

Overall, more than 1 million customers in Louisiana were without power, and another 60,000 or so in Mississippi were in the dark, according to PowerOutage.US, which tracks outages nationwide.

Neighbours helping out

03:30 , Alastair Jamieson

Although many thousands have fled coastal Louisiana ahead of the storm, others have stayed behind.

New Orleans sports journalist Luke Johnson noticed one New Orleans braving the conditions to cover a neighbour’s window after it blew out in the storm.

He is one of hundreds of thousands in the city now without power.

Terrifying wind caught on video in Grand Isle, Louisiana

03:00 , Alastair Jamieson

This terrifying video found by the Weather Channel gives an indication of how bad the winds are for many in Louisiana today.

Ida slows to Category 3, six hours after making landfall

02:10 , Alastair Jamieson

Hurricane Ida has downgraded to Category 3, six hours after first began battering the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm.

As the weather system passes over land, it has lost some of the energy it picked up crossing the relatively warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

https://twitter.com/KPRC2/status/1432139772013780996

81mph gusts in New Orleans — residents to ‘shelter within shelter’

Monday 30 August 2021 00:06 , Alastair Jamieson

New Orleans has just recorded a wind gust of 81mph and the National Weather Service is advising residents to shelter within parts of their own homes in case of structural damage.

New Orleans is now almost completely without power

Monday 30 August 2021 00:00 , Nathan Place

Nearly all of New Orleans has been blacked out by power outages, data from the utility company Entergy shows.

NOLA journalist Amie Just pointed out the horrifying numbers on Twitter.

“Still traces of green (meaning power) in New Orleans,” she captioned a color-coded graphic, “but the number of Entergy customers without power is increasing by the minute as Hurricane Ida moves into the metro.”

Hurricane Ida is now moving north

Sunday 29 August 2021 23:45 , Nathan Place

Hurricane Ida is moving north through Louisiana, the National Weather Service has announced.

“Ida appears as though it is starting to try to make the turn northward,” the Service tweeted. “The extreme wind warning has been expanded eastward some into Jefferson Parish as a result. If you got the warning, PLEASE stay in an interior room or small room with no windows.”

Authorities issue extreme wind warning for several Louisiana cities

Sunday 29 August 2021 23:30 , Nathan Place

The National Weather Service has issued an extreme wind warning for Houma, Metairie, and Kenner, Louisiana, effective until 6:30pm CDT.

“Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to an interior room or shelter NOW!” the Service tweeted.

Delacroix, Louisiana is badly flooded

Sunday 29 August 2021 23:15 , Nathan Place

Video footage shows that Delacroix, Louisiana – not far from New Orleans – has been severely flooded.

“This is Delacroix as Ida comes ashore,” WWLTV reporter Paul Murphy wrote in a tweet including the shocking footage. “Storm surge pushed in over a back levee and flooded the area. St. Bernard Parish is expecting 8-12 feet of tidal surge. Courtesy Delacroix Yacht Club.”

Video shows winds tearing through New Orleans

Sunday 29 August 2021 23:00 , Nathan Place

Alarming video footage shows brutal winds ripping through the street outside a Hyatt hotel in New Orleans.

Video shows roof being torn off home as winds pummel Louisiana

Sunday 29 August 2021 22:45 , Nathan Place

Video footage shows the moment powerful winds from Hurricane Ida tore the roof off a house in Chauvin, Louisiana.

Satellite footage shows frightening path of storm system

Sunday 29 August 2021 22:30 , Nathan Place

A visual representation using satellite footage shows the frightening progress of Hurricane Ida, complete with flashes of lightning around the storm’s eye. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted the animation on Twitter.

National Weather Service issues flash flood warning for New Orleans

Sunday 29 August 2021 22:19 , Nathan Place

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for New Orleans and its surrounding areas, effective until 10pm tonight.

Video shows devastation in French Quarter, New Orleans

Sunday 29 August 2021 22:15 , Nathan Place

Shocking video footage shows the damage Hurricane Ida has already done to the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Louisiana power outages have now surpassed 400,000

Sunday 29 August 2021 22:00 , Nathan Place

Over 400,000 people in Louisiana have now lost their electricity due to Hurricane Ida, according to data from Entergy, a utility company in the state.

Video shows furious winds in Houma, Louisiana

Sunday 29 August 2021 21:45 , Nathan Place

Shocking video footage shows powerful winds in Houma, Louisiana, not far from Port Fourchon, where Hurricane Ida made landfall. Ida’s winds have reached up to 150mph.

Louisiana governor asks residents to shelter in place for 72 hours after storm has passed

Sunday 29 August 2021 21:30 , Nathan Place

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards has asked residents in Ida’s path to shelter in place not just for the storm’s duration, but for up to 72 hours afterward.

“Once the storm has passed, you need to be prepared to shelter in place for the first 72 hours,” Mr Edwards said at a press conference. “We have every possible resource ready to go to help you.”

The governor said even after the storm passes, going outside may still be dangerous due to downed power lines, debris, and other dangers.

‘We shouldn’t kid ourselves’: Biden holds press conference on ‘life-threatening’ hurricane

Sunday 29 August 2021 21:09 , Nathan Place

President Biden held a press conference on Sunday regarding Hurricane Ida, warning Americans to “take it seriously.”

“The storm is a life-threatening storm,” the president said. “And its devastation is likely to be immense. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. And so the most important thing I can say right now is that everyone, everyone should listen to the instructions from local and state officials, just how dangerous this is. And take it seriously.”

Baton Rouge hospital may have to put Covid beds in hallways if Ida brings new patients

Sunday 29 August 2021 21:00 , Nathan Place

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is already filled to capacity due to Covid-19, and may need to care for patients in hallways if Hurricane Ida brings in new ones, CNN reports.

“This hospital is ready to sustain quite a bit of damage, ready to sustain quite a bit of power outages... What we don't have is space and what we don't have are health care workers because of Covid,” the hospital’s chief medical officer, Katherine O’Neal, told CNN. “We have 619 people in-house today. We have 157 Covid patients, which is just unbelievable and still higher than we've ever seen in this pandemic before.”

Footage shows Louisiana fire station flooded in just one hour

Sunday 29 August 2021 20:45 , Nathan Place

Video footage shows the dramatic flooding of a fire station in St Bernard Parish, Louisiana over just one hour.

More than 300,000 people in Louisiana are now without power

Sunday 29 August 2021 20:30 , Nathan Place

The number of people without electricity in Louisiana has skyrocketed up to 301,965, according to poweroutage.us.

Only about an hour ago, that number was at approximately 105,000.

Horrifying video shows man wading out into storm surge

Sunday 29 August 2021 20:15 , Nathan Place

The National Weather Service has retweeted a video of a man deliberately walking into a storm surge, and emphatically warned others not to do the same.

“Absolutely DO NOT go into Storm Surge,” NWS New Orleans tweeted. “This is an extremely dangerous and LIFE-THREATENING situation and this man is putting his life in imminent danger. Stay inside, hunker down in an interior room or closet or bathroom and STAY PUT!”

Video shows tree being blown onto house by Ida’s winds

Sunday 29 August 2021 19:54 , Nathan Place

Video shows the moment winds from Hurricane Ida blew a tree onto a neighboring house in Harvey, Louisiana.

New Orleans EMS suspends operations ‘due to dangerous winds'

Sunday 29 August 2021 19:39 , Nathan Place

New Orleans Emergency Medical Services has suspended operations due to unsafe weather conditions, it announced on Twitter.

“NOEMS operations have been suspended due to dangerous winds,” the agency said. “We will address calls accordingly once it is safe for our first responders.”

Ida ties with 2020 hurricane for Louisiana’s strongest storm ever

Sunday 29 August 2021 19:33 , Nathan Place

As a Category 4 hurricane with 150mph winds, Ida has tied for the record of Louisiana’s strongest storm in history, CNN has reported.

Ida’s fearsome strength matches that of two other storms: the Last Island Hurricane of 1856, and Hurricane Laura of 2020.

That makes Louisiana the first state in history to face hurricanes with winds of over 150mph in two consecutive years.

A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Torrential rain pummels Leeville, LA, just north of where Ida made landfall

Sunday 29 August 2021 19:23 , Nathan Place

Video footage shows the nightmarish view in Leeville, Louisiana, as it gets pummeled with torrential rain and powerful winds. Leeville is just north of Port Fourchon, where Hurricane Ida made landfall.

Power outages have affected over 150,000 Louisianans

Sunday 29 August 2021 19:02 , Nathan Place

Over 150,000 people in Louisiana have now lost their electricity due to Hurricane Ida, according to poweroutage.us.

One energy provider, Entergy, says some customers will have to wait weeks for their power to be restored.

“Every storm is unique,” Entergy said on its website. “Based on historical restoration times, customers in the direct path of a Category 4 hurricane can experience outages up to three weeks and beyond three weeks for a Category 5 hurricane.”

PowerOutage.US

Hurricane Ida has made landfall, hitting Louisiana with 150mph winds

Sunday 29 August 2021 18:11 , Nathan Place

Hurricane Ida has officially made landfall, reaching the southeastern coast of Louisiana near Port Fourchon at 11:55am.

The storm brought winds blowing at 150 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service Hurricane Center.

“Ida made landfall as an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and a minimum central pressure of 930 mb (27.46 inches),” the Center said in a tweet.

Power outages have left almost 93,000 people without electricity in Louisiana

Sunday 29 August 2021 17:55 , Nathan Place

As Hurricane Ida bears down on Louisiana, 92,609 people in the state have lost their electricity, according to poweroutage.us.

PowerOutage.US

Video shows the view inside Hurricane Ida

Sunday 29 August 2021 17:43 , Nathan Place

Video from a NOAA aircraft shows the view inside the hurricane currently barreling toward Louisiana.

FEMA sends thousands of workers to US southeast

Sunday 29 August 2021 17:14 , Nathan Place

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent 2,400 of its employees to states being hit by Hurricane Ida, CNN has reported.

Those states include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

“FEMA is working with its federal, state and local partners as well as non-governmental agencies to support needs of areas affected by Ida,” FEMA said in a statement. “The agency positioned supplies such as meals, water, and generators to assist states with impacts from this storm.”

President Joe Biden listens during a FEMA briefing on Hurricane Ida in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
President Joe Biden listens during a FEMA briefing on Hurricane Ida in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Photos show severe flooding from Hurricane Ida in Mississippi

Sunday 29 August 2021 17:03 , Nathan Place

Cars drive through flood waters along route 90 as outer bands of Hurricane Ida arrive Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in Gulfport, Miss. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP)
Cars drive through flood waters along route 90 as outer bands of Hurricane Ida arrive Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in Gulfport, Miss. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP)
Harrison County W Wittmann Road in Pass Christian, Miss. floods in the early morning of Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021 as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Ida. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP) (AP)
Harrison County W Wittmann Road in Pass Christian, Miss. floods in the early morning of Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021 as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Ida. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP) (AP)
Highway 90 westbound in Pass Christian, Miss. overflows with flooding waters early as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Ida on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP) (AP)
Highway 90 westbound in Pass Christian, Miss. overflows with flooding waters early as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Ida on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP) (AP)
Henderson Avenue in Pass Christian, Miss. completely flooded as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Ida early Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP) (AP)
Henderson Avenue in Pass Christian, Miss. completely flooded as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Ida early Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP) (AP)

Violent wind and waves seen in Grand Isle, Louisiana

Sunday 29 August 2021 16:56 , Nathan Place

Video from Fox 8 NOLA reporter Zack Fradella shows brutal winds and waves rocking the island town of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Flooding worsens in Biloxi, Mississippi

Sunday 29 August 2021 16:42 , Nathan Place

Flooding has intensified in Biloxi, Mississippi, where a casino’s parking garage was underwater by late Sunday morning.

Reporter Justin Mitchell captured the scene on video.

Massive storm waves seen in Alabama

Sunday 29 August 2021 16:38 , Nathan Place

Startling video footage shows enormous waves breaking on the shores of Fort Morgan, Alabama.

US weather authorities had predicted that Alabama would be among the states affected by “life-threatening flash and urban flooding” from Hurricane Ida.

Louisiana governor: ‘We’re as ready as we can be’

Sunday 29 August 2021 16:29 , Nathan Place

Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is “as ready as we can be” for Hurricane Ida, but the storm will be “a very serious test” of the state’s levee’s systems.

“It’s going to be a very, very challenging storm for our state, and it comes at a very difficult time as well,” the governor told CNN, explaining that hospitals are already filled with Covid patients, making it difficult for them to take on new patients hurt in the storm.

Weather authorities predict ‘extremely life-threatening storm surge’ and ‘catastrophic wind damage’ from Ida

Sunday 29 August 2021 16:15 , Nathan Place

US weather authorities are predicting an “extremely life-threatening storm surge,” “catastrophic wind damage,” power outages, and “life-threatening flash and urban flooding” in Louisiana and Mississippi due to Hurricane Ida.

The dire warnings were announced by the National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Twitter.

New Orleans closed massive flood gates ahead of storm

Sunday 29 August 2021 15:52 , Nathan Place

New Orleans on Saturday closed its extensive network of flood gates in preparation for Hurricane Ida. This included the gigantic Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, which can be seen from space.

Ida will test New Orleans’ post-Katrina protections

Sunday 29 August 2021 15:37 , Nathan Place

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the city embarked on a massive public works project to protect itself from future storms. Hurricane Ida will test those protections.

In the past 16 years, the federal government has spent $14.5 billion on building levees, pumps, seawalls, floodgates, and drainage in and around New Orleans. As Ida approaches, some experts think the city is ready.

“The post-Katrina system is so different than what was in place before,” US Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson Matt Roe has said.

Read more here.

EXPLAINER: Is New Orleans protected from a hurricane?

Authorities tell New Orleans residents to ‘shelter in place immediately'

Sunday 29 August 2021 15:20 , Nathan Place

In a post retweeted by Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, the National Weather Service has warned all New Orleans residents to shelter in place “immediately.”

“If you are not in shelter, shelter in place immediately,” National Weather Service New Orleans tweeted. “Go to an interior room or a small room with no windows. Stay put during this time.”

Ida may cause tornadoes, National Weather Service predicts

Sunday 29 August 2021 15:04 , Nathan Place

Hurricane Ida may cause tornadoes and supercells after it makes landfall, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

“Hurricane Ida will make landfall later this morning in SE Louisiana, and continue moving northwestward and inland through the afternoon,” the Center said in a tweet. “The threat for supercells and a few tornadoes will increase today in the outer convective bands to the northeast and east of the center of Ida.”

Flooding has started in Mississippi, local reports say

Sunday 29 August 2021 14:42 , Nathan Place

Roads have already started getting flooded in Mississippi, according to local reports.

In one Twitter video, posted by McClatchy reporter Justin Mitchell, two cars can be seen driving through deep water on Highway 90 in Biloxi, Mississippi.

“Two cars have already gotten stuck at Hwy 90 and Miramar [in] Biloxi as water has already taken over the roadway,” Mr Mitchell tweeted. “Ida is powerful, major hurricane and approaching landfall.”

National Weather Service says it ‘can’t bear’ to see Ida’s current path

Sunday 29 August 2021 14:31 , Nathan Place

As it tracks Hurricane Ida’s progress via satellite images, the National Weather Service New Orleans says it can’t bear what it’s seeing.

“As meteorologists at the National Weather Service Slidell office, we can't bear to see this on satellite,” the organization said in a tweet. “We have hard times ahead, but we will all persevere. Take all messages we, public officials and broadcast media are saying SERIOUSLY. Stay tuned for more frequent updates.”

Ida to hit 'absolute worst place for a hurricane’

Sunday 29 August 2021 14:21 , Tom Batchelor

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, who flew hurricane missions for the government and founded Weather Underground, said Ida is forecast to move through “the just absolute worst place for a hurricane”.

The Interstate 10 corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is a critical hub of the nation’s petrochemical industry, lined with oil refineries, natural gas terminals and chemical manufacturing plants.

A US Energy Department map of oil and gas infrastructure shows scores of low-lying sites in the storm’s projected path that are listed as potentially vulnerable to flooding.

A tropical storm warning has also been extended to the Alabama-Florida border.

Ida draws comparisons with Katrina

Sunday 29 August 2021 14:04 , Tom Batchelor

Comparisons to the 29 August 2005 landfall of Hurricane Katrina have been weighing heavily on residents bracing for Ida.

A Category 3 storm, Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths as it demolished oceanfront homes in Mississippi and caused levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans.

In Saucier, Mississippi, Alex and Angela Bennett spent Saturday afternoon filling sand bags to place around their flood-prone home.

Both survived Katrina, and did not expect Ida to cause nearly as much destruction where they live, based on forecasts.

“Katrina was terrible. This ain’t gonna be nothing,” Alex Bennett said.

“I hate it for Louisiana, but I’m happy for us.”

Power cuts expected as storm sweeps through

Sunday 29 August 2021 13:51 , Tom Batchelor

Utilities companies are bringing in extra crews and equipment to deal with expected power losses from the storm.

Joe Biden said he has coordinated with electric utilities and 500 federal emergency response workers were in Texas and Louisiana to respond to Ida.

US energy companies have reduced offshore oil production by 91 per cent and gasoline refiners cut operations at Louisiana plants in the path of the storm. Regional fuel prices have risen in anticipation of production losses and on increased demand due to evacuations.

Coastal and inland oil refineries have also cut production due to the storm. Phillips 66 shut its Alliance plant on the coast in Belle Chasse, while Exxon Mobil Corp cut production at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery on Saturday.

Homes and businesses board up as streets empty

Sunday 29 August 2021 13:34 , Tom Batchelor

People walk down Canal Street past a boarded up CVS Pharmacy in New Orleans (AFP via Getty Images)
People walk down Canal Street past a boarded up CVS Pharmacy in New Orleans (AFP via Getty Images)
Jean-Luc Bourg, 8, his sister Olivia, 10, and parents Jean Paul and Christina have boarded up their property in preparation for Hurricane Ida in Morgan City, Louisiana (REUTERS)
Jean-Luc Bourg, 8, his sister Olivia, 10, and parents Jean Paul and Christina have boarded up their property in preparation for Hurricane Ida in Morgan City, Louisiana (REUTERS)
Men place plywood in front of a store in preparation for Hurricane Ida, in New Orleans (REUTERS)
Men place plywood in front of a store in preparation for Hurricane Ida, in New Orleans (REUTERS)

Thousands flee approaching storm

Sunday 29 August 2021 13:17 , Tom Batchelor

People stand in line to get through the security checkpoint at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (Getty Images)
People stand in line to get through the security checkpoint at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (Getty Images)
Traffic moves bumper to bumper along I-10 west as residents arrive into Texas from the Louisiana border ahead of Hurricane Ida in Orange, Texas (REUTERS)
Traffic moves bumper to bumper along I-10 west as residents arrive into Texas from the Louisiana border ahead of Hurricane Ida in Orange, Texas (REUTERS)
Heavy traffic clogs Interstate 10 out of New Orleans as residents and visitors evacuate (AP)
Heavy traffic clogs Interstate 10 out of New Orleans as residents and visitors evacuate (AP)

Ida landfall expected around lunchtime

Sunday 29 August 2021 13:04 , Tom Batchelor

Winds strengthen to 150mph, says hurricane center

Sunday 29 August 2021 12:51 , Tom Batchelor

The US National Hurricane Center has warned that wind speeds are increasing as the storm nears land.

In a release published within the last hour, the agency said: “Reports from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts.” Sustained wind speeds had been given as 140mph until now.

A sustained wind of 82 mph and a gust to 107 mph were also reported at one of the agency’s stations at Pilot’s Station East near Southwest Pass, Louisiana.

Ida feared to be worst direct hit hurricane since 1850s

Sunday 29 August 2021 12:35 , Tom Batchelor

John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s governor, said on Saturday that the storm could be the state’s worst direct hit by a hurricane since the 1850s.

Southern Louisiana is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Laura from a year ago. The state was also devastated 16 years ago this week by Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people.

But Louisiana is not planning to evacuate hospitals now strained by an influx of Covid-19 patients, Mr Edwards said.

“The implications of having a Category 4 storm while hospitals are full are beyond what we normally contemplate,” Edwards said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

Officials ordered widespread evacuations of low-lying and coastal areas, jamming highways and leading some gasoline stations to run dry as residents and vacationers fled the seashore.

“This is a powerful and dangerous storm - it is moving faster than we had thought it would be, so we have a little less time to prepare,” said Dr Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s chief medical official. “There is a lot of Covid out there - there are a lot of risks out there.”

Satellite images show storm's path

Sunday 29 August 2021 12:20 , Tom Batchelor

A satellite image taken on Sunday shows Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico and approaching the coast of Louisiana (via REUTERS)
A satellite image taken on Sunday shows Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico and approaching the coast of Louisiana (via REUTERS)
This image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows severe weather systems, Hurricane Nora, lower left, and Hurricane Ida, right, over the North American continent (AP)
This image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows severe weather systems, Hurricane Nora, lower left, and Hurricane Ida, right, over the North American continent (AP)

Ida set to make landfall on Sunday

Sunday 29 August 2021 12:08 , Tom Batchelor

Category 4 Hurricane Ida is set to make landfall on Sunday, bringing strong winds and heavy rain with the threat of flooding.

By early Sunday Ida was located about 75 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, carrying top sustained winds of 140 mph.

Ida could inflict a life-threatening storm surge, potentially catastrophic wind damage and flooding rainfall, the National Hurricane Center said.

Sunday 29 August 2021 12:03 , Tom Batchelor

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of Hurricane Ida, which is due to make landfall on Sunday.

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