Hurricane Ida increased intensity overnight and now is expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm, west of New Orleans. Outer bands of the storm are now starting to reach New Orleans and we are experiencing some wind and intermittent rain. The track has shifted closer to us, so the chance of severe weather in our area has increased. As the storm makes its way ashore later today, we are expecting some hurricane force gusts and rainfall of 10-15 inches. This means we are likely to lose power and have street flooding. But rest assured that our buildings are capable of handling higher winds than those forecast for New Orleans.
We enacted our shelter in place plan for campus residents at 10:30 a.m. today, meaning that they will no longer be able to leave their residence halls. This is both to ensure their safety and to leave streets accessible for first responders. Off-campus residents are also urged to stay safe at home for the duration of the storm. The worst of the weather is expected to be between noon and 6 p.m. today. Still, the storm will continue overnight and into tomorrow, with threats of flash flooding and wind damage throughout the area.
No matter where you are riding out the storm, it’s always a good idea to keep your batteries and laptops charged and keep lines of communication open. Make sure to reach out to friends and family to let them know where you are and that you are safe.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all the staff who have worked so tirelessly to prepare our campus for this storm. From our physical plant team who fueled the generators and placed sandbags, to the Sodexo employees who prepared meals for days, to the residential life staff who are ensuring that our campus residents are as comfortable as possible, to the LUPD officers keeping our campus secure, you all have my heartfelt gratitude.
Now we pace, and wait, and pray. Stay safe, Wolf Pack. I know we will get through this.