Hurricane Ida, Now a Category 4 Storm, Takes Aim at the Louisiana Coast

NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Ida stoked fear and dread in Louisiana on Sunday as the approaching storm threatened to grow into one of the most powerful systems to assault the region since Hurricane Katrina, forcing residents to flee or hunker down as the storm quickly intensified to a Category 4 overnight and forecasters warned it had New Orleans in its projected path.

The trajectory and strength of Ida will serve as a high-stakes test of the 350 miles of levees, flood walls, pumps and gates that were built up around the city as added storm protection after Katrina in 2005. Ida has also raised concerns about hospitals, which were overwhelmed by water and patients during Katrina and are already strained by the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.