Hurricane Ida has made landfall in Louisiana as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, forcing those who did not flee to brace themselves for a tough few hours.
Ida came ashore near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11.55am.
Hurricane-strength winds extended 80km out from Ida’s eye, forcing New Orleans to suspend emergency medical services as the storm crawled northwest at 21kmh.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said just three days after emerging as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea, Ida had swelled into a Category 4 hurricane with top sustained winds of 240kmh.
Predicted storm surges were already happening, exceeding 1.83m in some parts of the coast.
The NHC also warned of potentially catastrophic wind damage and up to 61cm of rainfall in some areas.
More than 300,000 Louisiana homes and businesses had already lost electricity, mostly in the state’s southeast, according to the tracking site PowerOutage.
Hundreds of miles of new levees were built around New Orleans after the devastation of Katrina, which made landfall 16 years ago to the day, inundating neighbourhoods and killing more than 1,800 people.