U.S. State braces for ‘extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Ida

Ida could be worst direct hit in 170 years: Louisiana Governor

Updated - August 29, 2021 09:50 pm IST

Published - August 29, 2021 01:30 pm IST - Louisiana

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 on August 29, 2021. Photo: NOAA via 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 on August 29, 2021. Photo: NOAA via AP

Hurricane Ida was expected to make landfall in the U.S. on Sunday as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm that could plunge much of the Louisiana shoreline under water as the state grapples with a COVID-19 surge already taxing hospitals.

The storm intensified faster than officials had predicted on Saturday, as residents of the Gulf Coast evacuated and businesses shut down, and gathered more strength overnight.

Southern Louisiana is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Laura from a year ago. The State also has the third-highest incidence of COVID-19 cases per 1,00,000 people in the U.S over the past seven days.

By early Sunday Ida was a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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

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

Louisiana was also devastated 16 years ago this week by Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people.

‘Hospitals full’

The State 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,” Mr. Edwards said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

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