Hurricane Ida made landfall in the United States on Sunday, The Weather Channel reports, striking the coast near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, just before noon local time. The storm—which rapidly strengthened from a few thunderstorms to a Category 4 hurricane in only a matter of days—is expected to be one of the most brutal on record to ever hit the state.
“We can sum it up by saying this will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in Louisiana since at least the 1850s,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a press conference, per The New York Times. “It’s very painful to think about another powerful storm like Hurricane Ida making landfall on [the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina].”
“But I also want you to know that we’re not the same state that we were 16 years ago,” he continued, perhaps in reference to the billions invested by the state’s government in improving coastal Louisiana’s storm protection infrastructure in those years, according to the Times.
Despite the timing of Ida’s landfall, the Times predicts that the overall impact of Ida’s storm surge will be less severe than that caused by Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane that killed more than 1,800 people and did more than $100 billion in damage in 2005. However, Ida’s predicted rainfall and high-speed winds—currently clocking in as high as 150 miles per hour, the Associated Press reports—will likely be worse than Katrina’s. The Times has compared the likely destruction to that caused by Hurricane Laura, which caused severe wind-related damage in 2020 resulting in 42 deaths and $19 billion of damage.
At press time, more than 223,000 customers have lost power in Louisiana following Ida’s landfall, according to CNN. That number is expected to increase as the hurricane keeps moving inland, unleashing destructive winds of up to 135 miles per hour and possibly even tornadoes throughout the surrounding region.