Hurricane Ida devastated the state of Louisiana as a Category 4 storm for about six hours.
Ida was downgraded to a Category 3 storm by the National Hurricane Center in an update at 7 p.m. ET. It hit land as a Category 4 storm at around 1 p.m. ET.
For reference, Hurricane Laura, which hit Louisiana last year, went from a Category 4 storm at 150 mph to a Category 3 storm at 120 mph in 3 hours after landing. Hurricane Michael in 2018 rose from 155 mph to 125 mph in 3 hours after landing.
For example, Hurricane Ida maintained Category 4 strength after land impact twice as long as these two storms.
So what’s the difference between the categories anyway? The National Hurricane Center uses the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to assess hurricanes. According to the scale, Category 4 hurricanes have winds between 130 and 156 miles per hour and they will cause “catastrophic damage”.
“Well-built framed houses can suffer severe damage, with the loss of most of the roof structure and / or some exterior walls. Most trees are torn or uprooted and utility poles toppled. Fallen trees and utility poles isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months, “the center says of Category 4 storms.
Meanwhile, Category 3 storms – causing “devastating damage” – have suffered winds between 111 and 129 mph.
“Well-built half-timbered houses can cause great damage or the removal of roofing and gable ends. Many trees are broken or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for days to weeks after the storm ends,” the center says .