The U.S. Coast Guard says Hurricane Ida has gotten so bad that it cannot deploy resources into the area but is ready to send them the moment conditions permit.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Vice Admiral Steven Poulin, the Commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area said the service had been for the past several days prepositioning its assets in the Gulf Region and has moved additional aircraft and crews in from as far as California, New England, the Great Lakes, and North Carolina.
“Unfortunately, the weather right now is preventing us from responding down into the impact area,” Poulin said. “It’s beyond our weather parameters but we’ll respond to any distress needs of assistance as soon as we can.”
We’re focused on saving lives and that’s our number one priority.
Just when exactly, that may be, is too early to tell, Poulin said. He noted that there are many parameters involved – wind, rain, and thunderstorm – all of which are playing a part right now.
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“We are very much linked in with state and local emergency management officials. All of that makes up what we call a search and rescue system,” Poulin said. “And so, we’re closely working with state local officials to make sure that we’ll respond when needed and in concert with other search and rescue responders.”
Coast Guard and other rescue personnel will respond to people in stranded areas, areas that may be flooded, or even boaters or vessels that are in distress.
“We’re focused on saving lives and that’s our number one priority,” Poulin said.
Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., made landfall Sunday, blowing off roofs and reversing the flow of the Mississippi River as it rushed from the Louisiana coast toward New Orleans.
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The Category 4 storm 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 Associated Press contributed to this report.