Louisiana Braces for Category 4 Hurricane as Ida Makes Landfall: 'A Life-Threatening Situation'

With sustained winds as fast as 150 mph, Hurricane Ida touched down Sunday afternoon in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, resulting in power outages for more than 314,000 homes

Hurricane Ida touched down in Louisiana on Sunday afternoon, as the storm was elevated to Category 4 after being classified as Category 1 on Friday.

The "extremely dangerous" hurricane made landfall at Port Fourchon just before 1 p.m. local time with sustained winds as fast as 150 mph and a minimum central pressure of 930 mb, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Warnings are in effect for parts of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, with the storm bringing damaging winds, torrential rain, and dangerous surges to many coastal areas. Tornado and flash flood warnings are also in effect, with New Orleans expected to experience heavy rain and possible flash floods, according to CNN.

Louisiana Braces for Category 4 Hurricane as Ida Makes Landfall
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"This is a life-threatening situation," read a Sunday morning advisory from the NHC. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."

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After locals in affected areas were told to evacuate, New Orleans Director of Homeland Security Collin Arnold Amayor urged remaining residents to shelter in place. "There's nobody coming right now," Amayor said in a press conference on Sunday afternoon. "You need to stay inside."

Louisiana Braces for Category 4 Hurricane as Ida Makes Landfall
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"Please do not try to access a health care or hospital facility right now," added Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans Health Department. "Our hospitals are hunkering down. They are caring for the patients who are within their walls. … We will be there for you when the storm passes."

Hospitals in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi are bracing for the aftermath amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, after Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi had to enlist help with hospital overflow from the federal government and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency this month. The state's largest hospital, University of Mississippi Medical Center, was recently forced to set up a field hospital in their parking garage to manage the overflow.

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Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana noted that although he would usually consider evacuating hospitals during such a storm, the current circumstances made that an impractical move. "That isn't possible. We don't have any place to bring those patients. Not in state, not out of state," Edwards said, according to 16 WAPT News.

President Joe Biden declared a Pre-Disaster Emergency for Mississippi on Saturday, a day after announcing a declaration for Louisiana, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts in response to Hurricane Ida.

Joe Biden
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Since Ida made landfall, more than 314,000 Louisiana households have lost power, with most of those affected being Entergy customers, the state's largest electric utility company, according to poweroutage.us.

Entergy Mississippi President and CEO Haley Fisackerly advised customers in South Mississippi and the Jackson-metro to prepare for widespread outages as well.

"We have acquired a large contingency of resources to respond but please be prepared for extended outages. Restoration will begin once high winds clear the area and we assess damage. Be storm ready and please be safe," Fisackerly said, according to WJTV 12 News.

Coming on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Category 3 storm that claimed more than 1,800 lives and caused more than $100 billion in damages, Hurricane Ida marks two consecutive years of record-breaking hurricanes for Louisiana. Last year's Hurricane Laura also made landfall with sustained winds of 150 mph, making it the strongest hurricane in terms of windspeed to hit Louisiana since 1856, according to NOLA.com.

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