From the Field

2021 Hurricane Ida: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful and rapidly intensifying storms to hit the United States, delivered days of misery and destruction — from the time it made landfall in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to the torrential rains that pummeled the Northeast.

Hurricane Ida lashed Louisiana on Sunday, August 29, making landfall near Port Fourchon as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 mph. A storm becomes a Category 5 at 157 mph. Ida then churned inland, bringing catastrophic winds, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes, along with flash and urban flooding plus life-threatening storm surge along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Death tolls continue to climb in several states — Louisiana officials reported at least 28 deaths, and at least another 50 people died in six Eastern states.

The storm devastated both Mississippi’s and Louisiana’s power grids, knocking out electricity to more than 1 million customers, including all of New Orleans, during late-summer sweltering heat. Some are still without electricity more than two weeks later.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, has had a record-setting start, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator Rick Spinrad. The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as a “tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.” According to NOAA analyses, a 150 mph Category 4 storm has more than 250 times the damage potential of a Category 1 storm.

Learn the facts about Hurricane Ida, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm, and join us in prayer for people affected.
The GOES–East satellite captured this composite image loop of powerful Hurricane Ida as it made its way to the Louisiana coast on August 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

FAQs: What you need to know about Hurricane Ida

Explore facts and frequently asked questions about hurricanes and Hurricane Ida, including how you can help people affected, and please join us in prayer for affected children and families.

Fast facts: Hurricane Ida

  • Formed in the Caribbean Sea on August 26, 2021
  • Battered Cuba with roof-ripping force on August 27, 2021
  • Strengthened to a Category on August 29, 2021, as it moved toward the Louisiana coast
  • Made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. CT on August 29, 2021, which coincided with the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi on August 29, 2005
  • Tied Hurricane Laura (2020) and the Last Island Hurricane (1856) as the strongest to ever hit Louisiana


How did Hurricane Ida develop?

Ida formed as a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea on August 26, 2021, and increased to a hurricane the next day before making landfall over Cuba. The storm then strengthened to a Category 4 as it moved toward the Louisiana coast.


Where did Hurricane Ida make landfall in the U.S.?

Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. CT on August 29, 2021, as a Category 4 with winds of 150 mph.


How is World Vision responding to Hurricane Ida?

World Vision rushed truckloads of critically needed supplies to the hardest-hit communities ravaged by Hurricane Ida. Working closely with our church partners in Louisiana, we’ve reached 12,000 people with resources including food, clean water, tents, sanitizing wipes, generators, flashlights, diapers, and clothing.

Michelle and her 6-year-old son, Elijah, were among the families to get supplies from a World Vision–sponsored distribution at Israelite Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was among the more than 1 million people who lost power due to the storm. Michelle says she’s grateful for the generosity of our donors. “Thank you very much. Every little thing helps,” says Michelle. “We’re blessed.”

Israelite Baptist Church Pastor Emmanuel Smith Jr. says he hopes families will feel cared for and “see the helping hands of our Lord and Savior.” He also expressed his gratitude to World Vision’s support. “Without them being a partner and making products available, it would be impossible for us to do this job.”

Although our storehouse in Bronx, New York, sustained damage from the storm, our staff remained safe and continued operations. We’re working with our existing partners to give families the needed cleaning kits and sanitizing supplies, including PPE and sanitizing wipes. As of September 17, 2021, we’ve helped about 5,000 people in New York with emergency relief supplies.


How can I help people affected by Hurricane Ida and other disasters in the U.S.?

  • Pray: Please pray for people affected by Hurricane Ida and other powerful storms. Almighty Father, we ask for Your care and protection for people affected by catastrophic winds, heavy rains, and floods. Give survivors the assurance of Your presence and equip those who provide relief and assistance in the wake of devastating natural disasters. 
  • Give: Your donation will help bring relief and hope to people affected by Hurricane Ida and other disasters in the U.S.



Laura Reinhardt of World Vision’s U.S. staff contributed to this article. 

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