Ida Is Hitting With Stronger Winds, But Katrina Was Bigger Storm
(Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Ida is bearing down on Louisiana with some of the strongest winds to ever hit the U.S. state, but it doesn’t have Katrina’s reach, according to Todd Crawford, director of meteorology at commercial forecaster Atmospheric G2.
Ida’s hurricane-strength winds of 74 miles (119.09 kilometers) per hour or more extend 50 miles from its center, while Katrina’s reached out 125 miles from its eye when it hit 16 years ago, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Ida, however, will almost certainly strike southern Louisiana with winds of 150 mph or more, tying with last year’s Laura and a 19th-century storm as the most intense to hit the state. The current storm has also matched Katrina’s central pressure, another indicator of power.
Still, it wasn’t Katrina’s winds that caused the most suffering in New Orleans, but the massive storm surge it sent into Lake Pontchartrain that overwhelmed the city’s flood protection.
The track is also different. Katrina came ashore first in Louisiana and later in Mississippi, with New Orleans to the west of its eye, which is where the winds tend to be weaker. Ida will pass to the west of the Crescent City, which Crawford said is close being “the absolute worst-case scenario” -- especially if Ida gets a bit stronger and hits as a Category 5 storm.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.