Hurricane Ida made landfall shortly before Noon Sunday morning near Port Fourchon, LA as a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. It remained a category 4 hurricane for several hours after making landful due to the very swampy and marsh covered land in southeast Louisiana.
As of 7:30pm Sunday evening the hurricane has moved a little further inland and is now a strong Category 3 hurricane with maximum winds of 120 mph. The center of the storm remained west of New Orleans, however, the outer eyewall moved through the western part of town producing wind gusts close to 100 mph, causing the entire city to lose power due to ‘catastrophic’ damage to their transmission system. The only power the city has is what is coming from generators.
It’s current track is to the north/northwest around 10 mph. The storm will continue to weaken as it moves through southeast Louisiana, eventually down to a Category 1 hurricane very early Sunday morning as it nears the Mississippi/Louisiana border. Even further weakening will continue as moves towards Tennessee and Kentucky. While the threat from the extremely strong winds won’t be felt that far north, heavy rainfall will be a concern in those areas – as is often the case with tropical systems that move inland. Keep in mind that parts of middle Tennessee are still recovering from massive flooding – west of Nashville – from just last weekend.
Hurricane Ida comes 16 years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana in 2005. A levee breech on Lake Pontchartrain heightened the loss of life and damage to property in New Orleans as nearly 80% of the town was under flood water on August 31st. So far the levee system in New Orleans is still holding, but there is some concern that barges that have broken free on the Mississippi River may impact those levees.