“Extremely dangerous” Category 4 Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 12:55 p.m. ET with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.
As the hurricane made landfall, New Orleans officials warned residents who had stayed to “hunker down.” “There’s nobody coming right now,” said Collin Arnold, New Orleans’ top emergency official.
A brief 911 outage was reported around 11 a.m., but the city’s deputy chief resilience officer, David Morris, said it had been resolved within 10 minutes. But officials stressed that 911 is for emergencies only.
Ida threatened a region already reeling from a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, due to low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant.
New Orleans hospitals planned to ride out the storm with their beds nearly full, as similarly stressed hospitals elsewhere had little room for evacuated patients. And shelters for those fleeing their homes carried an added risk of becoming flashpoints for new infections.
Hurricane force winds started to strike Grand Isle on Sunday morning. Before power was lost on the Louisiana barrier island, a beachfront web camera showed the ocean steadily rising as growing waves churned and palm trees whipped.
Forecasters warned winds stronger than 115 mph were expected soon in Houma, a city of 33,000 that supports oil platforms in the Gulf.
The storm made landfall on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.