Hurricane Ida strengthened very rapidly overnight and now has sustained winds of 150 mph. Conditions are such that the storm still appears to be strengthening, and by the time it reaches land in a few hours it may become the strongest hurricane to ever hit Louisiana.
On one level it’s still unlikely to cause a Katrina-level disaster for several reasons:
(1) The levee system in New Orleans has been improved over the past 16 years by Socialism aka Government Tyranny ($50 billion federal project).
(2) Katrina had a wider wind field, and spent a couple of days as a Cat 5 out in the GOM before reaching land, which created a titanic storm surge.
(3) Ida’s track is a little bit further west.
On the other hand, Louisiana’s hospitals are already overwhelmed by COVID, which is going to make a chaotic post-storm situation worse.
One thing that’s important to remember in these kinds of disasters is that there are a significant number of people who simply can’t evacuate prior to the storm’s arrival, because they have no means of doing so (there are many pockets of almost Third World-level poverty in rural Louisiana). While the focus understandably tends to be on New Orleans proper, many little towns and hamlets in the bayou country are going to take a direct hit from this, and are going to be destroyed.
The good news, such as it is, is that the Biden administration’s FEMA isn’t run by a completely unqualified horse show trainer who got the job because he knew somebody who knew somebody.
But it’s going to be a terrible next few days even with a competent federal government response.