JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Residents in Louisiana are bracing for Hurricane Ida as it’s predicted to reach Category 4 strength before making landfall on Sunday -- 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the state.
Louisiana’s governor said Ida will be the strongest hurricane to hit anywhere in Louisiana since the 1850s.
Jacksonville resident Arlene Blevins has a nephew who lives right outside of New Orleans.
“He was going to stay, and he’s out looking for a generator because they’re all sold out pretty much everywhere,” Blevins said.
She said her nephew moved to Louisiana to help rebuild structures after Hurricane Katrina, and he’s not evacuating for Hurricane Ida. Neither are his neighbors.
“He’s boarding up his windows and doors and everything that’s vulnerable to the wind right now and moving objects away, you know, indoors,” Blevins said.
But she’s worried that just boarding up won’t be enough.
So is Katie Boden, who used to live in New Orleans.
She said some of her friends evacuated, but some decided to stay.
“Who knows after the storm? There might be more that leave because they don’t want to be without power. They said it could be up to four weeks,” Boden said.
She said she remembers being without power after Hurricane Ivan for a week and a half.
“I’m just really concerned, especially for my elderly neighbors that decided to stay,” Boden said.
The storm is expected to make landfall Sunday afternoon or evening, just west of New Orleans.
JEA is sending lineworkers to Louisiana to provide mutual aid. JEA crews in more than 30 trucks will be leaving on Sunday morning to pre-position before the storm makes landfall and be ready to help restore power once Hurricane Ida passes.
“Florida has been the recipient of mutual aid assistance when we have been impacted by hurricanes many times in the past, and JEA crews are honored to return the favor to Louisiana residents,” JEA spokesperson Karen McAllister said in a news release.