Hurricane Ida barrels towards US Gulf coast

Hurricane Ida barrels towards US Gulf coast

Hurricane Ida barrels towards US Gulf coast

Hurricane Ida could damage close to 1 million homes along the US Gulf Coast if the storm intensifies as forecast, with potential reconstruction costs estimated to exceed $220 billion. 

A dangerous storm surge could hit 941,392 properties in the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastal areas, the property and data analytics firm said. They predict winds will strengthen rapidly and Ida could become a category 4 hurricane by the time it makes landfall in the U.S. over the weekend.

US oil and gas companies on Friday cut more than 1.6 million barrels of oil production as a major storm churned toward oilfields that provide 17 per cent of the nation’s oil production.

Production cutbacks ahead of Hurricane Ida exceed those during 2005’s devastating Katrina barreled into Cuba on Friday after intensifying into a hurricane with 85 miles per hour (130 kph) winds, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). It could become “an extremely dangerous major hurricane,” and threaten the US Gulf Coast “catastrophic wind damage,” the NHC said.

If Ida makes landfall in Louisiana, it would be the fourth hurricane to do so since last August and would be Louisiana’s third major hurricane landfall in that span. Louisiana’s governor called on residents to prepare for a major storm, President Joe Biden issued a federal emergency declaration and New Orleans and coastal officials asked residents to move to higher ground. Five storms made landfall in Louisiana last year, causing billions of dollars in damage.