Hurricane Ida Strength Causes Mississippi River to Flow in the Opposite Direction
The reversal of the river is an extremely rare natural event.
When Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, early Sunday afternoon, it roared in as a Category 4 hurricane with all the destructive power of Mother Nature behind it. The extremely dangerous winds, which got up to 150 mph, knocked out all the power in New Orleans and left a trail of destruction in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The winds were so strong they even managed to reverse the flow of the mighty Mississippi River.
Changing the direction of a river is a natural phenomenon that is rarely seen, deemed "extremely uncommon" by U.S. Geological Survey supervising hydrologist Scott Perrien who spoke to CNN. Perrien remembered that it happened briefly during Hurricane Katrina and now, 16 years to the day since the devastating Hurricane Katrina made landfall, it happened again during Hurricane Ida. It also reportedly happened in 2012 during Hurricane Isaac.
The scientist explained that on Sunday near Belle Chasse, which is about 20 miles south of New Orleans, the river rose a whopping seven feet due to storm surge. That's when the "the flow of the river slowed from about two feet per second down to about half a foot per second in the other direction."
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ricky Boyette confirmed engineers detected a "negative flow" on the river as well, USA Today reported. While Ida has now downgraded to a tropical storm and has left the area, the danger for the region is not completely over. Water rescues are ongoing, and the threat of more flooding remains.