Hurricane Ida has blasted ashore along the Louisiana coast, with the eye of one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the US arriving near the barrier island of Grand Isle.
The powerful category 4 storm made landfall on the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier, about 64 kilometres west of where Category 3 Katrina first struck land.
Arriving with a barometric pressure of 930 millibars, Ida preliminarily goes down as tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States based on wind speed. Based on central pressure it is tied for 9th strongest US landfall.
Ida rapidly intensified overnight as it moved through some of the warmest ocean water in the world in the northern Gulf of Mexico, its top winds grew by 72 kilometres per hour to 230 kilometres per hour in five hours.
Hurricane force winds started to strike Grand Isle on Sunday morning.
Before power was lost on the Louisiana barrier island, a beachfront web camera showed the ocean steadily rising as growing waves churned and palm trees whipped.
More than 100,000 customers had lost power in Louisiana by noon and were without electricity, according to PowerOutage.US, which tracks outages nationwide.
Wind tore at awnings and water began spilling out of Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans. Officials there said Ida’s swift intensification from a few thunderstorms to massive hurricane over three days left no time to organise a mandatory evacuation of its 390,000 residents.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents to leave voluntarily. Those who stayed were warned to prepare for long power outages amid sweltering heat.