Maps show Hurricane Ida’s path, how it compares to Katrina

A news crew reports on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain ahead of approaching Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Hurricane Ida blasted ashore Sunday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., rushing from the Louisiana coast toward New Orleans and one of the nation’s most important industrial corridors.

The interactive map below shows Hurricane Ida’s projected path in real time. Select “Ida” on the left-hand side, then zoom in to see the predicted path. The map also shows where meteorologists expect the storm to weaken from a Category 4 storm to a weaker hurricane, then a tropical depression.

Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph. It hit on the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier, coming ashore about 45 miles west of where Category 3 Katrina first struck land.

The interactive map below shows how the two storms’ paths compare. (Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 path is shown in color; Ida’s projected 2021 path is shown in black and white.)

The maps are dynamically updated with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Comparisons to the Aug. 29, 2005, landfall of Katrina weighed heavily on residents bracing for Ida. Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths as it caused levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans and demolished oceanfront homes in Mississippi. Ida’s hurricane force winds stretched 50 miles from the storm’s eye, or about half the size of Katrina.

Ramsey Green who is in charge of infrastructure for the city of New Orleans emphasized before the worst of the storm that when it comes to protections against storm surge, the city is in a “very different place than it was 16 years ago.”

Water should not penetrate the levee system, which has been massively overhauled since Katrina. But if forecasts of up to 20 inches of rain come true, the city’s underfunded and neglected network of pumps, underground pipes and surface canals likely can’t keep up, Green said.

Hurricane Ida nearly doubled in strength, going from an 85 mph storm to a 150 mph storm in just 24 hours, which meteorologists called “explosive intensification.” Ida’s 150 mph winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the mainland U.S.

“Ida will most definitely be stronger than Katrina, and by a pretty big margin,’’ said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. “And the worst of the storm will pass over New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which got the weaker side of Katrina.”

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