Ida vs. Katrina: The Early Days
Two major hurricanes arrived in New Orleans 16 years apart, and both provide lessons for the insurance industry.
Ida struck New Orleans on Sunday, August 29, 2021, as a Category 4 hurricane. Katrina, on the other hand, was a Category 3 at landfall. There are multiple differences in these two storms, as well as the preparedness of the local area. Ida traveled through Alabama, and there are multiple reports of flooding across Louisiana. LaPlace, for example, has reported 1-2 feet of flooding. This was almost entirely caused by the storm surge pushing through Lake Pontchartrain from east to west.
Famous aerial photographs after Katrina showed the Superdome surrounded by floodwaters, which included the entire Warehouse District from the Mississippi River to the Superdome. Since Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane while in the Gulf of Mexico, it pushed a tremendous wall of water in front of it. Although it weakened to a Category 3 by the time it hit land, all of that storm surge was in front of it, which is why there was a storm surge of 25-30 feet in various areas of Louisiana. On the other hand, Ida seems to have topped out at about seven feet of storm surge, though we’ll know more in the coming days.
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