Sabtu, 28 Agustus 2021

US Gulf coast braces as ‘extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Ida approaches -

Hurricane Ida passed through western Cuba on Friday, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes

Authorities in Louisiana and elsewhere on the US Gulf Coast issued increasingly dire sounding warnings Saturday as Hurricane Ida, a storm expected to pack powerful 130 mph winds, moved with unexpected speed toward the New Orleans area. 

"Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast on Sunday," the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said, adding that storm preparations should be "rushed to completion."

In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned residents to take Ida with utmost seriousness.

Southern Louisiana was bracing for massive damage and flooding -- with rainfall of up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) predicted in spots -- as the fast-intensifying storm roars through the Gulf after pummeling western Cuba.

"Extended power loss is almost certain," New Orleans homeland security director Collin Arnold told reporters Saturday. "I'm imploring you to take this storm seriously."

Cantrell earlier urged people within the city's hurricane protection area to hunker down, adding that anyone outside the area planning to leave should "do so immediately."

Sunday is the 16th anniversary of Katrina, the devastating hurricane that flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, leaving 1,800 people dead and inflicting billions in property damage. 

Cantrell said that to avoid the chaos that followed Katrina, with thousands of people stranded by floodwaters, the city has protectively chartered 125 coach buses for post-storm evacuations.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a "life-threatening storm surge" -- as high as 11 feet near New Orleans and 15 feet around the mouth of the Mississippi River -- when the hurricane makes landfall along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

"The time to act is NOW," the New Orleans branch of the US National Weather Service urged in a tweet.

Louisiana has declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm.

"People are packing and leaving right now," Scooter Resweber, Grand Isle's police chief, told local media. "This is going to be a big one."

The hurricane made landfall late Friday in western Cuba as a Category 1 storm, packing winds near 80 miles per hour. 

- 'Be ready for whatever comes' -

Meantime, a Category One hurricane named Nora was on a track threatening Mexico's central Pacific coast state of Jalisco, the NHC said. It warned of "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides."

Scientists have warned of a rise in cyclone activity as the ocean surface warms due to climate change, posing an increasing threat to the world's coastal communities.


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2021-08-28 18:00:00Z

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