Hurricane Ida Grows to Category 4 Storm Before Hitting Louisiana

By: BNC Digital Staff

UPDATE: August 29 at 5:30 p.m.

Chief meteorologist Kevan Smith reports with the latest updates from Hurricane Ida and a flash flood warning.

“Right now, we are experiencing some heavy rainfall. New Orleans metro, you are now experiencing some flash flood warnings as the eyewall is passing toward Houma,” Kevan Smith reports. As the storm “lingers”, effects are expected to get worse. The camera from the Department of Transportation is shaking up and down as Hurricane Ida continues to pummel the area. Three inches of rainfall per hour are happening in the area.

In the French Quarter, it feels like a “different storm.” Street signs are being whipped back and forth as Hurricane Ida’s winds pick up. “The flying debris [is] a safety concern,” Jamiese Price says. “Contractors were supposed to pick up the debris from construction sites, and they didn’t.” Due to dangerous conditions, Price was forced to seek shelter after her report.

“Officials here are trying to juggle two emergencies at once,” Derrick Lewis reports from Baton Rouge. “There are 200 people inside [the shelter behind me]. Because we are in the middle of the pandemic, this shelter has gone down from 600 to 200 people. People inside will have to wear a mask, and families are asked to bring masks for every member of their family. People are trying to be safe from two ends: safe from the hurricane, and safe from catching COVID inside the shelter.”

Hurricane Ida is a “lingering” storm over Louisiana and the southeast coast.

 

UPDATE: August 29 at 5:00 p.m.

Hurricane Ida is starting to “slow down” since the storm has made landfall, reports BNC’s chief meteorologist Kevan Smith, which is not good news for those currently in its path.

Winds are gusting up to 90 mph in New Orleans as the city is currently experiencing the “worst of it.”

Storm surges have caused waters to reach as high as 10 ft, and could possibly go up to 12 ft over the homes of people in New Orleans. It is only going to go “downhill” for people in New Orleans, as the weather continues to approach Baton Rouge.

“The city and state say they are better prepared than they were sixteen years ago,” Jamiese Price says, live in New Orleans. “When we are talking about preparations and planning, they’ve done the work. They’ve had sixteen years to prepare for, and their levee systems will be tested. We will be here to see how well the city and the state are prepared for Hurricane Ida.”

Derrick Lewis in downtown Baton Rouge says, “We are starting to hear and see the storm. The good news is we have not seen that many people outside– people need to be careful of falling debris.” Lewis warns people not to “sightsee”, as it’s just not worth it. Firefighters are saying they are prepared to come out in case of emergency over the next 72 hours.

“This storm is slowing down as it makes its way to land,” Lewis says. “There are so many people here, including the National Guard, the Department of Health and Human services.” As the storm moves through southeastern Louisiana, the long-term effects of rain and wind will continue to be monitored.

 

UPDATE: August 29 at 4:30 p.m.

Gusts over the Crescent City from Hurricane Ida are now over 90 mph.

The entire area, including those in New Orleans, are in a Tornado watch until 7 pm local time. The eyewall of the storm is still on track to eventually pass over Baton Rouge.

Storm surges are expected to reach 12 feet or more. New Orleans will continue to endure the worst in the coming hours.

President Biden says resources have already been “prepositioned” in the areas that will be most affected by Hurricane Ida, as he met with FEMA earlier today.

Derrick Lewis is live in Baton Rouge, where they are waiting for the storm to pass. “Here, in downtown Baton Rouge, they still have power. Entergy says people could be without power from three days, to the hardest-hitting areas without power for three weeks. They will have 16,000 workers ready.”

Lewis advises that people have “candles and flashlights” ready.

UPDATE: August 29 at 4:00 p.m.

Hurricane Ida’s barometric pressure is now up to 940 millibars. The storm surge is expected within Crescent City.

Tornado watch is in effect until 10 pm.

Derrick Lewis reports live from Baton Route. “We are right here in Baton Rouge, we are expecting a storm surge of 12 feet into this [Mississippi] river. Earlier, there have been a lot of cars trying to leave to get out as soon as possible. Trees are swaying, the clouds are getting a little grey.” By the time the storm hits Baton Rouge, it is expected to be a Category 2.

Resources have been mobilizing in Baton Rouge. However, Lewis warns “the worst of the storm has not come out.”

“The wind is so powerful it just took my hat off,” Jamiese Price says. “The wind is a big concern– we know that these winds are powerful and dangerous, and this is something that has been stressed by all folks. We have seen some folks out, someone on a motorcycle, someone walking a dog. We may have seen some tourists, but we hope not.”

Price warns, “There is no one who can help you right now. It is not safe for emergency services to come out.” While emergency are staffed at 100%, they cannot respond to calls right now as it is simply “not safe.”

FEMA warns that Hurricane Ida is a “life threatening” storm.

UPDATE: August 29 at 3:48 p.m.

Hurricane Ida Brings Deadly Storm Surge

Storm surges will be very important for people to look out for along Lake Pontchartrain.and According to the graphics and reports, people in New Orleans are expected to be submerged in 10 ft of water.

Some people are even experiencing 16ft of water and as people can see in the graphic, 12ft of water can almost be to the roof of the average person’s home. This is a dangerous situation for anyone to be in, which why a storm surge warning has been issued.

The storm surge warning extends all the way to the south of Baton Rouge, Biloxi and Mobile, Alabama. Thankfully there are no tornado warnings, although there is now a tornado warning around the Mobile area.

 

UPDATE: August 29 at 3:30 p.m. 

President Biden has just met with members of FEMA concerning the state of Hurricane Ida.

This is the lowest pressure system to hit the shores of Louisiana. Hurricane Ida touched down with a barometric pressure of 930 millibars, a new record for the state.

Bands of heavy rainfall have now hit Louisiana, and winds are now surging around the east and southeast. Within the isolated cells of the storm, tornado warnings have now been issued.

Wind gusts are expected to reach 150 mph as the storm continues.

“Power lines are swaying but are still holding…. Employees at the Children’s Hospital and nurses at the COVID rooms will not be leaving the hospitals in order to ensure all patients are covered,” Nerissa Knight reported live on the ground.

 

UPDATE: August 29 at 3:00 p.m. 

 

EMS in New Orleans has been shut down due to sustained wind speeds of over 30 mph from Hurricane Ida. Right now, it is advised that only those with dire emergencies call 9-1-1.

It is estimated over 250,000 people in Louisiana are currently without power.

“We can confirm that right now the Mississippi river is flowing backwards,” BNC correspondent Jamiese Price reported live on the ground. Currently, Lakeshore Drive is also underwater.

The natural disaster is also conflating with the current pandemic still underway in Louisiana. Reports indicate that by Friday and Saturday, many grocery stores were out of necessities like bread.

Winds are expected to gust at over 120 miles per hour as the storm continues, making its way to Baton Rouge. The storm surge is expected to get worse as Hurricane Ida continues.

UPDATE: August 29 at 2:20 p.m. 

Hurricane Ida has made landfall in New Orleans as a category 4 hurricane. This deadly storm swelled to its current category 4 status on Sunday.  

The winds are blowing at 185 to 190 miles per hour. Right now, there is a tornado watch off to the west of the Grand Isle and the southwest of New Orleans. The eyewall of the storm is currently pushing a little closer toward New Orleans; right now, it is 25 miles to the southwest of the city.  

The New Orleans people are starting to experience heavy rainfall and the dangerous gusts of wind that are moving into the city. Currently, New Orleans has wind between 60 to 70 miles per hour at the lakefront. Experts anticipate the storm to only get worse from here.  

 

UPDATE: August 29 at 11:00 a.m. 

Hurricane Ida strengthened to a Category 4 storm on Sunday, hours before it’s set to strike Louisiana and the Gulf Coast on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.   

According to the National Hurricane Center, Ida has sustained winds of 150 mph, only 7 mph away from becoming a devastating Category 5 storm.   

“Ida is poised to strengthen further and based on recent satellite images, it appears that strengthening is imminent,” the National Hurricane Center said, according to CNN.   

UPDATE: August 28 at 7:10 p.m. 

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Hurricane Ida will be “one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in Louisiana since at least the 1850s.” The National Hurricane Center predicts it will hit the state at 140 mph and make landfall as a Category 4 storm at about 1 p.m. Sunday. Residents have been urged to evacuate early, and those who are staying put have been told to make no further movement after midnight Saturday. 

UPDATE: August 28 at 5:08 p.m. 

The storm is expected to make landfall at 1 p.m.

UPDATE: August 28 at 4:07 p.m. 

As hurricane Ida draws near the northern Gulf Coast over the weekend, it is expected that the forecast will intensify and bring severe flooding.  

The Weather Channel reports that Ida is currently centered 250 miles southeast of New Orleans and is tracking northwest at 16 mph with winds of 100 mph, making it a category 2 storm. There have been several hurricane warnings, tropical storm warnings and a tropical storm watch posted and issued throughout Louisiana. 

Warm temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico waters and upper-level winds will likely result in hitting major hurricane strength.  

Louisiana could face storm surges, floods, catastrophic winds and tornadoes on Sunday, the 16th anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. If Ida becomes a growing threat where you live, having a hurricane plan in place is crucial.  

—-

Louisiana residents are on high alert as Hurricane Ida barrels toward the state, expecting to make landfall on Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. 

Ida strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Friday, hitting maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.  

Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico will likely lead to Ida becoming a Category 4 hurricane.  

Meteorologists have said that people along the central Gulf Coast should evacuate, according to AccuWeather.   

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Thursday and a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency on Friday, NBC News reported.   

“Unfortunately, Louisiana is forecast to get a direct, strong hit from Tropical Storm Ida, which could make landfall as a major hurricane, a category 3, which is compounded by our current fourth surge of COVID-19,” he said. “This is an incredibly challenging time for our state.”  

If Ida makes landfall as a hurricane, it will be the first hurricane to do so this year. Five other storms have hit the U.S. in 2021.   

This is a developing story  

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