Hurricane Ida makes landfall in southwest Cuba

Hurricane Ida makes landfall in southwest Cuba

 HAVANA, August 28 (AFP) Hurricane Ida made landfall on the southwest coast of Cuba on Friday evening,

accompanied by winds and heavy rains, before then going back to Louisiana where it could go from category 1 to 4 and become “extremely dangerous”.

At around 12:30 a.m., Ida touched down on Cuban soil near the village of La Coloma, in the western province of Pinar del Río, with sustained winds of 130 km / h, the Cuban Meteorological Institute said.
It is moving northwest at a speed of 24 km / h. The hurricane had previously passed through the Island of Youth, south of Cuba’s main island, but the winds and rains it brought caused only minor damage to agriculture and housing whose roof was torn off.
Touching the province of Pinar del Río, it struck the current epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic on the island, whose health system has been rocked by an explosion of cases in recent weeks. More than 10,000 people were evacuated and the electricity was cut off preventively.
Television footage showed dozens of fallen trees across the province, as the seas raged. In the capital Havana, near this province, public transport was suspended as a precaution at midday and thousands of people evacuated.
Hurricane Ida makes landfall in southwest Cuba

16 years after Katrina

Louisiana, for its part, was preparing for the next hurricane, expected Sunday, as the 16th anniversary of one of the region’s most severe weather events approached: Katrina.

Hurricane Ida could then climb from Category 1 to Category 4, on a scale of 5, according to the latest bulletin from the American Hurricane Center (NHC). It could then become “a major hurricane” and “extremely dangerous”, potentially carrying winds of more than 200 km / h, warned the NHC.
Joe Biden on Friday approved a declaration of a state of emergency for Louisiana to provide “federal assistance” to preparedness efforts, with voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders being issued in some places. “The president will closely monitor this situation and will be kept informed of developments over the weekend,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
“This is an extreme challenge for our state,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement, as his state is currently facing a new outbreak of Covid-19, which is bringing hospitals to their knees.

“It’s time for the people of Louisiana to prepare,” urged Mr. Bel Edwards, who said that by Saturday night every resident should be in a safe shelter.
“Make sure you and your family are prepared for any eventuality,” he pleaded.

“Serious” situation

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell admitted it was too late for evacuations: “We are not calling for a mandatory evacuation because time is not on our side. We don’t want people to be on the road, and therefore in greater danger, ”she said at a press conference.

“The situation is much more serious than six hours ago,” she said, anticipating potential damage. “We are on the east side on the path of the storm, we foresee significant repercussions,” she tweeted earlier. Louisiana, a southern state in the country, is frequently hit by hurricanes.
And has yet to fully heal the wounds inflicted by the trauma of 2005, when Katrina ravaged Louisiana and claimed more than 1,800 lives. During this traumatic episode, New Orleans was 80% flooded, when the dikes protecting the city had given way. As the surface of the oceans warms, hurricanes become more powerful, scientists say.

In particular, they pose an increasingly significant risk to coastal communities that are victims of wave-submersion phenomena amplified by rising sea levels. Last week, Tropical Storm Henri, accompanied by record rainfall, hit the northeastern United States, a rare occurrence for this region where thousands of people were left without power.