Sustained winds of 150 mph and life-threatening storm surge as Category 4 storms takes aim
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Hurricane Ida closed in on the coast Sunday (Aug. 29), threatening to bring devastating wind damage, torrential rain and life-threatening storm surge to virtually all of Southeast Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
The National Hurricane Center reported in its 10 a.m. advisory that Ida was sustaining 150 mph winds and had slowed to 13 mph at it drew within 60 miles of the Mississippi River’s mouth and within 85 miles of New Orleans.
Forecasters predicted a slightly slower northwestern motion for the mammoth storm would continue through Sunday evening, with hurricane-force winds slamming the region for hours. Landfall still was expected in Terrebonne Parish by early afternoon.
Hurricane-force winds still were being detected 50 miles outward from the storm’s center, with tropical storm-force winds raging 150 miles from the core. A NOAA tide gauge in Shell Beach reported a water level that already was 5.6 feet above mean high water, an approximation of the inundation in that area.
At 150 mph sustained wind speed, Ida was close to reaching the 157 mph threshold for Category 5 hurricanes. Regardless of its final classification, forecasters warned of “catastrophic” wind damage throughout the region and rainfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches in most areas and up to 24 inches in isolated locations.
The threat of tornadoes remains a major concern even after the storm comes ashore. The NHC said tornadoes were most likely to form through Monday throughout Southeast Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Southwest Alabama and the western Florida panhandle.