(ETH) – Hurricane Ida has made landfall in southeast Louisiana as a powerful Category 4, where it’s bringing life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, and dangerous rainfall flooding. Ida’s center crossed the coast near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. CDT.
The Weather Channel is reporting maximum sustained winds were 150 mph, making Ida a high-end Category 4. Ida has tied two other hurricanes for the strongest landfall on record in the state of Louisiana based on maximum wind speeds. Laura had 150-mph winds when it tracked into southwest Louisiana last year. The other hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana with winds that high was in 1856.
Accuweather is reporting that the area of the hurricane just outside of the eye is where the harshest winds are typically found. Tropical-storm-force winds have been blowing across the city continuously for the past five hours and are expected to reach hurricane-force later this afternoon.
AccuWeather National News Reporter Kim Leoffler is in New Orleans and said that the “wind gusts are starting to get very strong.” Many people that remain in the city are staying inside bracing for what is to come, but a few people can be spotted braving the elements and traveling.
NOLA reported that winds as high as 128 mph were recorded at the mouth of the Mississippi River as early as 7 a.m., and the National Weather Service has issued an Extreme Wind Advisory for much of the southeastern coast. On Sunday morning, National Hurricane Center Director Kenneth Graham warned that hurricane-force winds were being experienced 50 miles out from the storm’s center, part of the trigger for the extreme wind alert.
Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 150 miles. A NOAA National Ocean Service tide gauge at Shell Beach reported a water level of 6.8 feet above mean higher high water, which forecasters said represented the inundation in that area. At the Carrollton Gauge in the Mississippi River in New Orleans, water had risen to 10.57 feet by 11 a.m., from just under 5 feet at midnight.
The Associated Press stated: “We’re going to catch it head-on,” said Bebe McElroy as she prepared to leave home in the coastal Louisiana village of Cocodrie. “I’m just going around praying, saying, ‘Dear Lord, just watch over us.’” Ida was poised to strike Louisiana 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts.
A Category 3 storm, Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths and caused levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans, which took years to recover. “We’re not the same state we were 16 years ago,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Saturday, pointing to a federal levee system that’s seen major improvements since Katrina swamped New Orleans in 2005.