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NEW ORLEANS: Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, forcing those who did not flee to brace themselves for the toughest test yet of the billions of dollars spent on levee upgrades following Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.

Ida gathered strength overnight and made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, at 11:55 a.m. CDT (16:55 GMT), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Hurricane-strength winds extended 50 miles (80 km) out from Ida's eye, forcing New Orleans to suspend emergency medical services as the storm crawled northwest at 13 miles per hour (21 km per hour).

Evacuations, fear as Hurricane Ida nears US Gulf Coast

Hundreds of miles of new levees were built around New Orleans after the devastation of Katrina, which made landfall 16 years ago to the day, inundating historically Black neighborhoods and killing more than 1,800 people. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Ida could be the state's worst direct hit by a hurricane since the 1850s. More than 122,000 Louisiana homes and businesses had already lost electricity, mostly in the state's southeast, according to the tracking site PowerOutage.

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