WATCH: Local man stranded in Louisiana as Hurricane Ida strikes
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IDAHO FALLS – Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana Sunday as an extremely dangerous, Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph, the National Hurricane Center tells CNN.
Jade Davis, the Operations Manager for Riverbend Communications in Idaho Falls, is in New Orleans celebrating his anniversary with his wife. As of 2 p.m. mountain time, he tells EastIdahoNews.com they’re just starting to see the brunt of the storm.
“We are several miles in from the coastline. Right now, I can barely see it because of the wind gusts and the rain coming through,” Davis says from his hotel room on Bourbon Street.
Several shingles have flown off the roof of the hotel and the internet is down, Davis says, but there does not appear to be any major damage.
“The trees around us are still standing. There’s no major flooding on the roads yet,” says Davis. “Our hotel room itself — we do have some water intrusions through the windows and (as I speak) I just heard something fly away (in a big wind gust).”
Davis and his wife still have power, but that’s not the case just three blocks away. See the latest conditions in the video player above.
Major damage is being reported west of New Orleans in the Baton Rouge area, he says. More than 400,000 customers in Louisiana are without power, according to poweroutage.us.
The hurricane made landfall around noon (Louisiana time) after cutting through the Gulf of Mexico. CNN reports the storm has caused 95% of the Gulf’s oil production to shut down. Based on local weather reports, Davis says New Orleans is not anywhere near the eye of the storm but they are still experiencing 90 mph winds.
Davis and his wife were supposed to fly home Saturday. When they checked in at the airport, they discovered their flight had been canceled.
“There were no more flights out of the airport until Monday,” Davis says. “We even tried a rental car, but there wasn’t one in the city. We booked a hotel that was close to the airport. As we went to check-in, they decided to shut down the hotel and evacuate it.”
After sitting in the lobby for several hours and making dozens of phone calls, they were finally able to find a hotel room to wait out the storm. Davis says he and his wife are safe and they’re trying to stock up on water.
Several shelters have been set up throughout the city for those who were unable to evacuate and Davis is anticipating a lot of people needing water, resources and other assistance once the storm passes.
“I’m sure that anybody who’s stuck here like us, didn’t have an opportunity to get a lot. By the time we were finally able to get to a place where we were going to be stable, we were only able to find one convenience store open. There was hardly anything on the shelves. We got a few bottles of water, and as we’ve been drinking those, we’ve been refilling it with tap water,” he says.
The timing of Hurricane Ida is significant. It’s striking New Orleans 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005. It is tied with Hurricane Laura last year as the state’s most powerful storm ever, according to CNN.
“We’ll be relieved once this passes because we all know what happened with Katrina and this storm is a lot stronger than Katrina,” Davis says.
Davis and his wife are planning to catch a flight home Monday, barring any inclement weather.