New Orleans — It was too late to depart because storms and rainfall reached the New Orleans area on Sunday morning, power was lost in some places, and highway travel was in jeopardy. Still, some people in the city were second to guessing their decision to stay.
“I’m a little nervous,” said 30-year-old Le-Ann Williams, cooking breakfast and watching the weather forecast at his apartment in New Orleans East.
Roads west and east of New Orleans were parking lots most of Saturday as tens of thousands of people tried to get out of the predicted stormy roads. Robert Greensenior took 16 hours to arrive in Houston from New Orleans on Saturday, typically 5 hours by car.
At the same time, thousands more decided to stay.
Sean Kelly was going to leave. He didn’t have a car, so he booked a plane. But by Saturday afternoon, he was notified that the flight had been canceled, and social media posts showed hours in line at the airport.
So the stage was set. He tried to overcome hurricane Ida at his parents’ home in the uptown district of New Orleans. It’s the same place where he and his family tried to get over Katrina at the age of 10 in 2005. .. At that time, the family had to be rescued. The scenario he wanted will not be repeated.
“The next few days of weakness will be the worst part, so I wish I could leave,” Kelly said. “I’m more worried about the aftermath than the storm, because it was Katrina’s problem. It was the aftermath. I’m always worried about what will happen.”
For New Orleans leaders, the question is what happens to those who stay behind if the destruction of Aida makes the situation uninhabitable.
The answer is “evacuation after a storm,” said Colin Arnold, the city’s head of emergency response. After an urban search and rescue team was set up, buses were placed on high ground, and a storm blew, people were ready to be taken out of town on Monday.
Arnold often proudly says that older people in the city have never been evacuated in the face of a severe storm like Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Fast-moving storms like Ida may have little time to evacuate.
“We didn’t choose it intentionally,” he said. “It’s climate change that’s doing that to us.”
Evacuation is an important part of disaster planning in a city where one in five households lacks a car. However, to be effective, the evacuation process must begin 72 hours before the storm strikes. And the storm sprinter Aida was just a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean that Mayor LaToya Cantrell had to order on Thursday afternoon.
“Time wasn’t on our side,” said Cantrell, who advised residents to evacuate voluntarily on Friday, but it was too late for a compulsory order.
Tens of thousands of people have considered their options and decided to hunt down. There was also optimism that the city’s improved levees and pumps would be retained this time. For others who have already paid their monthly invoices, the money was too short to travel now.
“Evacuation is always the safest option for major hurricanes,” Arnold said. “In front of Katrina, there were locals who said,’I’m not leaving because of the storm.’ Katrina changed that mindset. Now climate change may be changing it again for us. “