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    Hurricane Ida blasts Louisiana; New Orleans hunkers down


    New Orleans — 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 Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph (230 kph) hit on the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier, coming ashore about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of where Category 3 Katrina first struck land.

    The rising ocean swamped the barrier island of Grand Isle as landfall came just to the west at Port Fourchon. Ida made a second landfall about two hours later near Galliano. The hurricane was churning through the far southern Louisiana wetlands, with the more than 2 million people living in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge up next.

    “This is not the kind of storm that we normally get. This is going to be much stronger than we usually see and, quite frankly, if you had to draw up the worst possible path for a hurricane in Louisiana, it would be something very, very close to what we’re seeing,” Gov. John Bel Edwards told The Associated Press.

    People in Louisiana woke up to a monster storm after Ida’s top winds grew by 45 mph (72 kph) in five hours as the hurricane moved through some of the warmest ocean water in the world in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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