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Hurricane Ida strengthens, Louisiana braces for severe blow – Press Telegram

By REBECCASANTANA and KEVIN McGILL

New Orleans (AP) — Forecasters said on Saturday, ahead of the intensification of hurricane Ida, which is expected to bring 130 mph (209 kph) of strong winds, life-threatening storm surges and floods to coastal residents of the northern Gulf of Mexico. I warned you to hurry up. It rains when it lands in Louisiana on Sunday.

The coastal highway was heavily congested as people who warned that the National Hurricane Center could develop into a very dangerous Category 4 storm moved to get out of Aida’s path. Trucks pulling saltwater fishing boats and campers were flowing from the coast of Interstate Highway 65 in southern Alabama. Interstate highway No. 10 leaving New Orleans was jammed.

“We’re going to take it head-on,” said Bebe McElroy, who is preparing to leave his home in the coastal village of Cocodrie, Louisiana. “I just pray and say,’Dear Lord, just watch over us.'”

Sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi River and the Louisiana coast, Aida was poised to attack Louisiana. Katrina, a Category 3 storm, was accused of killing 1,800 people and caused a breach and a catastrophic flood in New Orleans. This took years to recover.

“We’re not in the same state as 16 years ago,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said on Saturday, showing significant improvements after Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005. He pointed out the embankment system.

“This system will be tested,” said Edwards. “The people of Louisiana will be tested, but we are resilient and tough people, and we will overcome this.”

Edwards said 5,000 National Guards were performing in 14 parishes for search and rescue operations by high-level vehicles, boats, and helicopters. And 10,000 linemen were waiting to respond to the power outage.

Two days ago, a tropical cyclone intensified so rapidly that New Orleans authorities needed to coordinate with states and neighboring areas to turn the highway into one, forcing the city’s 390,000 residents to evacuate. Said he didn’t have time to plan. The route of the road away from the city.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans called for voluntary evacuation, repeating that Saturday’s safe departure time was shortened. City officials were also preparing to open shelters for those displaced by the storm. They also warned those who stayed in preparation for a long power outage in the heat of the next few days.

Ramsey Green, the city’s chief infrastructure officer, emphasized that the embankments and drainage systems that protect the city have improved significantly since Katrina.

“But if it rains 10 to 20 inches in a short period of time, it will flood,” he said.

In Washington, President Joe Biden called Aida “extremely dangerous” and urged Americans to “care and prepare.” He talked about preparing for the storm on Saturday at the start of a virtual briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell.

Gasoline pumps and car rental companies have had longer routes while residents and tourists are preparing to leave on Saturday.

“We were willing to wait, but the hotel said we had to leave,” said Rays Lafoley, a visitor to Fort Worth, Texas, waiting in a rental car line at the city’s airport. .. “They said we had to leave by 7am tomorrow morning, but if we had waited that long, there wouldn’t be any cars left.”

Eda poses a threat far beyond New Orleans. A hurricane alert was issued approximately 200 miles (320 km) along the Louisiana coastline from Intracoastal City, south of Lafayette, to the Mississippi border. A tropical cyclone warning was extended to the Alabama-Florida route, and Mobile Bay in Alabama was under storm surge surveillance.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivy declared an emergency in the coastal and western counties of the state on Saturday, warning that Aida could cause floods and tornadoes.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves urged residents to stay away from interstate highways to make room for those fleeing Louisiana. He said 19 shelters had opened to accommodate evacuees. Some casinos on the Mississippi coast were closed in front of Aida.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, who flew a hurricane mission for the government and founded Weather Underground, said Aida was predicted to pass “absolutely the worst place for a hurricane.”

“There are hundreds of major industrial sites, namely petrochemical sites, three of the 15 largest ports in the United States, nuclear power plants,” said the Masters. “Probably the Mississippi River will be closed for a few weeks due to barge traffic.”

Phillips 66 said it would close its refinery operations in Belchas, Louisiana, based on Aida’s expected course.

Many gas stations in and around New Orleans were out of gas, and some still open gas stations had more than 12 car depths.

Mike Laurent of Marrero, Louisiana was filling about 12 gas cylinders to fuel his generator and the generators of his friends and family. Laurent said he and his family would survive the storm at home, despite concerns about whether the nearby levees would be maintained. It has been strengthened since Katrina in 2005.

“I don’t think it was tested to be tested tomorrow or Monday,” Laurent said. “I bought 12 life jackets just in case.”

By noon on Saturday, Aida had become a Category 2 hurricane with a maximum wind speed of 100 mph 100 mph (155 kph). The storm was centered 380 miles (610 km) southeast of Houma, Louisiana, and was moving northwest at 16 miles (26 km) per hour.

In New Orleans, city officials said residents needed to prepare for long-term power outages and urged older people to consider evacuation. Colin Arnold, the city’s head of emergency management, said the city could be exposed to strong winds for about 10 hours.

Some normally busy businesses were closed on Saturday. One of the popular breakfast spots was firmly secured to the door with sandbags to prevent flash floods.

Cuba began cleaning up on Saturday after Aida tore the island of Juventudo and the western part of the mainland. The storm knocked down trees and damaged crops and buildings. There were no reported deaths.

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New Orleans Associated Press writers Stacey Plaisance and Janet McConnaughey. Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia. Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland. Frank Bajak of Boston and Andrea Rodriguez of Los Palacios, Cuba contributed to this report.

Hurricane Ida strengthens, Louisiana braces for severe blow – Press Telegram Source link Hurricane Ida strengthens, Louisiana braces for severe blow – Press Telegram

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