New Orleans completely deprived of electricity after Hurricane Ida

Sixteen years to the day after the devastation of Katrina, New Orleans was completely without electricity on Sunday evening, a few hours after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana.

The Entergy company, which distributes electricity in southeast Louisiana, “confirmed that New Orleans was without electricity,” tweeted NOLA Ready, an agency of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. . “The only electricity in the city comes from the generators,” she said.

A “fatal risk”

In total, nearly a million homes were without electricity Sunday night across Louisiana, according to the specialized site poweroutage.us. Classified in category 4 when she arrived at midday on the coast of Louisiana, Ida moved to category 3 in the early evening, the same category as Katrina who had devastated this southern United States in 2005. “Ida is a dangerous category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale (out of 5). Rapid weakening is expected over the next day, but Ida is expected to remain a hurricane until late tonight, ”the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its early evening report.

The NHC warned of the “deadly risk” created by the hurricane and urged residents of affected areas to “take all necessary measures to protect their lives and property.” At 9:00 p.m. local time, Ida was still making headway with winds of 175 km / h, less violent than when it made landfall shortly before noon (5:00 p.m. GMT) at Port Fourchon, some 160 km south of New Orleans. “It is a potentially fatal cyclone,” said President Joe Biden, who visited the headquarters of the US Crisis Management Agency (FEMA) on Sunday and urged the population to take the threat seriously.

Power cuts

Ida “will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” said state governor John Bel Edwards. “There is no doubt that the next few days and weeks will be extremely difficult,” he told a press conference. “Once the hurricane has passed, you must prepare to stay in the shelter where you are for at least 72 hours,” he added. On CNN, the governor estimated that the costly dike system put in place after the devastation of Katrina in 2005 should “hold up”.

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The ocean level was more than a meter and a half above its usual high average in several places, according to the NHC. 130 km from New Orleans, in the capital Baton Rouge, a curfew has been announced for the entire part of the city west of the Mississippi River, from nightfall until nightfall. dawn, Monday.

“Don’t go out”

“Do not go out”, hammered all weekend the American meteorological services, which recommend to the inhabitants to take refuge in a room without windows of their residence and to be sealed there. The memory of Katrina, which made landfall on August 29, 2005, exactly 16 years ago, is still painful in Louisiana: more than 1,800 people had perished and bad weather had caused tens of billions of dollars in damage.

“I know it’s very painful to think that a new big storm like Hurricane Ida could make landfall on this anniversary date,” said John Bel Edwards. “But we are not the same state as 16 years ago, we have a hurricane risk reduction system.” The White House announced on Sunday that federal agencies have deployed more than 2,000 emergency response specialists, including search teams, as well as supplies of water, food and electric generators. Local authorities, the Red Cross and other organizations plan to open “dozens of shelters for at least 16,000 people,” the White House added on Sunday.

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