Hurricane Ida, which is now downgraded to a tropical storm, made landfall in southeast Louisiana on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021—the 16thanniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall—as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph. The full scope of Ida’s slow-moving destruction is yet to be discovered as of early Aug. 30, 2021, but many are bracing for the worst.
The dangerous conditions—including downed power lines, uprooted trees, flooding and high winds—made it impossible for rescue crews and emergency personnel to respond to calls.
Tropical Storm Ida continues its slow-moving path of destruction throughout the southeastern United States into central and northern Mississippi and Alabama. The slow-moving nature of the storm is said to be exacerbating the damage, as winds and rains hit the same places for hours at a time.
Ida is projected to turn northeast on Aug. 30 and travel through middle Tennessee Valley and upper Ohio Valley through Wednesday. On Sunday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency urged residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Ida’s arrival, as its path may bring heavy rain and flooding through areas that are still recovering from the previous week’s flooding emergency.
Stay Safe and Be Prepared
Hurricanes and tropical storms pose significant safety risks, and it’s vital to be properly prepared throughout hurricane season. As the tropics heat up, here area few tips to help you stay safe before, during and after tropical storms, depressions and hurricanes.
Before a Storm Hits
As storms develop, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state and local authorities will provide updates, keeping people aware of a storm’s path and issuing evacuation orders when necessary. If a storm is projected to hit your area, consider these tips:
- Have a family communication plan in place. Keep your devices charged and battery packs on hand.
- Cover all of your home’s doors and windows with storm shutters or ⅝-inch plywood.
- Move furniture and valuables to a higher elevation, if possible, if your home lies in a flood zone.
- Move all outdoor items inside.
- Store important documents (e.g., birth certificates or Social Security cards) in watertight containers.
- Make sure your generator, if you have one, is serviceable before the storm.
- Follow local evacuation orders and consider evacuating even if you are not required to.
- Prepare an emergency kit with dry goods, an NOAA radio, flashlights, clean water and first-aid supplies.
During the Storm
- When riding out a storm, do all you can to stay safe:
- Make sure your home is completely secure and do not go outside during the storm.
- Turn off all gas lines and consider turning off all utilities.
- Monitor the TV and radio for ongoing weather developments.
- Shelter away from doors and windows. Stay on the lowest level of your home, away from high winds, as long as it is safe to do so. If your home is flooding, move to higher ground in your home.
After the Storm Passes
Do not leave your home until local authorities deem it safe to do so. Even if it seems calm outside, it may not be safe to leave yet. Continue to shelter until you hear otherwise.
Following a storm, you can expect delays in emergency services in your community. Roads may also be flooded, power may be out and debris maybe in the roads.
As cleanup begins, remember the following:
- Be cautious of residual rain and flooding, even after the main part of the storm has passed.
- Be very careful when exiting your home. Debris, fallen trees and exposed wiring can make it hazardous to move around.
- Document damage to the outside of your home. Call your home insurer to file a claim as soon as you can. Insurers are often inundated with calls following natural disasters.
- Do not try to make repairs to your home by yourself without professional assistance.
- Seek medical attention or shelter from the local emergency services if necessary.
- Do not turn on your gas, HVAC, electricity or plumbing until you can confirm there is no damage to the lines.
- Keep your pets and children inside. It is not safe for them to wander.
If you have become separated from your family, use your family communication plan, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site. You can also contact your local Red Cross office for more information.
Ida is the latest destructive storm to hit the United States; its landfall follows another week of devastating weather, including flooding in Tennessee, 85 active wildfires, and Hurricane Henri’s destruction and flooding on the northeast coast.
Be sure to monitor forecasts for your area and follow guidance from local, state and federal officials to stay safe if extreme weather is projected.