ATLANTA (CBS46) — Louisiana residents are seeking shelter in metro Atlanta ahead of Hurricane Ida’s predicted landfall in the Bayou State.
Shalonda Spencer said the dire warnings from forecasters in New Orleans was more than enough to convince her to leave town immediately. Spencer and her mom arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport late Friday.
“Danger is coming. So, we had to run,” Spencer said. “New Orleans, you know, we’re basically just sitting in a bowl.”
Ida is predicted to make landfall over the Louisiana coast late Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds. The storm is expected to hit on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
“A Category 4, the best thing you should do is evacuate,” Spencer said. “If Katrina taught us anything it should’ve taught us to be safe.”
Spencer vividly remembers Hurricane Katrina. Her mom’s home sits in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, which was one of the hardest hit areas during the deadly 2005 storm.
“It was very traumatic for us because it was hard to find her,” she recalled. Communications were down. The lines were down. So, it was hard to keep in contact with your family members. So, this time we made sure we’re together and we evacuated.
Major airlines issued travel advisories ahead of the storm. Atlanta-based Delta Airlines announced it was capping fares and waiving rebooking fees for impacted travelers. American Airlines also added reduced last-minute flights in the path of Hurricane Ida.
“A lot of people are stubborn. A lot of people are still saying, ‘I’m going to ride it out,’” Spencer said.
While she and her mom find comfort with family in Atlanta, Spencer said her thoughts are with New Orleans and her home state of Louisiana.
“Because we still have some family members that are there,” she said. “You can’t force people to leave.”