Hurricane Ida strongest storm to hit Louisiana, flooding roadways

August 30, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Hurricane Ida ripped through southeastern Louisiana on Sunday, leaving a trail of wind and flood damage, including the closure of parts of Interstate 10.

At around noon on Sunday, Aug. 29, Hurricane Ida reached landfall near Port Fourchon, La., as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the storm is the strongest to reach landfall in Louisiana by wind speed and the fifth strongest in the United States, following:

  • “Labor Day” (September 1935): 184 mph near Layton, Fla.
  • Camille (August 1969): 173 mph near Waveland, Miss.
  • Andrew (August 1992): 167 mph near Elliott Key, Fla.
  • Michael (October 2018):161 mph near Mexico Beach, Fla.

Road closures in Louisiana and Mississippi

According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, portions of Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 were closed in the wake of Hurricane Ida, including a section from Capitol Access to North 22. The underpasses at Chippewa Street near Scenic and Acadian Thruway near I-10 under the KCS Railway was also closed.

As of 1 p.m. on Monday, LaDOTD was urging motorists to stay off the roads as crews continue working to clear the roadways. Interstate 10 at Exit 209 in Laplace is one of many sections of roads under water as of publication. Likewise, the Louisiana State Police is also telling motorist to stop all unnecessary travel.

“This morning, troopers began assisting crews with the clearing of roadways in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida,” the Louisiana State Police said in a statement. “The full extent of damage is yet to be seen.  Search and rescue missions will begin once first responders are able to navigate throughout the affected areas.  Although the storm has passed, it is not yet safe to return to the area. A large portion of travel routes are blocked by downed trees and power lines. In addition, there is standing water in some areas which can deteriorate roads and sweep vehicles away. Debris is also scattered throughout the area, which can make navigating our roadways very difficult.”

For the latest road closures during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, go to 511LA.org.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, the state’s Department of Transportation is reporting a few closures and several flash flood warning throughout the state. As of Monday morning, MDOT was reporting the following closures:

  • U.S. 90 from the Bay Saint Louis Bridge to the Biloxi Bay Bridge in both directions due to flooding and debris on the roadway.
  • State Route 604 in Hancock County.
  • State Route 26 at State Route 43 in Pearl River County has trees blocking the roadway.

MDOT is reporting debris on multiple roadways in multiple counties. Go to MDOTtraffic.com for the latest closures.

State and federal emergency declarations

On Sunday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a federal emergency declaration for the Southern and Western service centers for Hurricane Ida. Specifically, states in that area include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. As a result, drivers providing directly to relief efforts are exempt from certain federal regulations in those states. Truckers can find more information about that declaration here.

Ahead of the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Aug. 26. On Sunday, Gov. Edwards requested a presidential major disaster declaration for Hurricane Ida from President Joe Biden, which was immediately granted. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency on Sunday, Aug. 29.

According to the International Registration Plan, Alabama is temporarily suspending IRP and IFTA requirements for motor vehicles engaging in disaster relief due to Hurricane Ida.

Hurricane Ida lands 16 years after Katrina

Hurricane Ida reached Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck near Port Sulphur on Aug. 29, 2005, as a Category 3 storm with 127 mph winds. Although Katrina made landfall as a slower moving, weaker storm, poorly engineered levees broke, making the hurricane the costliest and third deadliest in the United States. Damages are estimated to have cost more than $176 billion. About 1,800 were killed. In 1928, about 2,500 people died in a hurricane that hit near Lake Okeechobee, Fla. Around 8,000 were killed in the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans strengthened its flood protection system, preventing future devastation from major hurricanes. Consequently, Gov. Edwards is reporting a single death as a result of Hurricane Ida.

According to PowerOutage.us, there are more than 1 million power outages in Louisiana as of noon, with nearly 100,000 outages in Mississippi.

As of 1 p.m. on Monday, Ida is a tropical storm with maximum winds of around 40 mph. Near Jackson, Miss., the storm is moving north-northeast at nearly 9 mph, with that speed expected to increase overnight through Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. A storm surge warning is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border. LL

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Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.