Gulf Coast residents are bracing for Hurricane Ida, which is gaining strength and is expected to make landfall Sunday as a dangerous, if not deadly, storm along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. Residents of Lake Charles in Biloxi are bracing for heavy flooding, high winds, storm surge and possible tornadoes.
Ida is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 or 4 storm on Sunday August 29, which marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in the same part of the Gulf.
The 2 a.m. CT Sunday forecast upgraded Ida to a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph. Category 4 storms start at 130 mph.
“Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the Louisiana coast,” the NHC said. “There is a danger of deadly storm surge flooding Sunday along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts within the storm surge warning area.”
Starting Saturday afternoon, meteorologists believe Ida will make landfall in Plaquemines Parish and move north to New Orleans. Parish officials in Plaquemines, Terrebonne, Jefferson, LaFourche and St. Charles ordered mandatory evacuations, with only parts of Plaquemines Parish under its mandatory order.
New Orleans is not subject to a mandatory evacuation. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Friday that while Ida “poses a dramatic threat” to her city, “time is not on our side…the city cannot order a mandatory evacuation because we we don’t have time”.
Here’s a live camera from the city of New Orleans to watch the winds and rain as they begin to hit the city Saturday night.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Meanwhile, here’s the scene about an hour east in Biloxi, Mississippi, which is expected to receive dangerous winds and heavy rain.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey have all declared states of emergency in their respective states.
The New Orleans Saints have canceled their final preseason game scheduled for Saturday night at Caesars Superdome against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals returned safely to Arizona.
Ida formed as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea a few days ago and gained strength as a Category 1 storm on Friday as it moved over Cuba. The storm is moving into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which will make it even stronger Saturday afternoon and evening.
Saturday afternoon, as the storm moved northwest of Cuba, the outer bands stretched from Cuba to Lafayette, Louisiana, and all the way east to the Naples and Fort area. Meyers in southwest Florida.
Hurricane Katrina followed a similar track to Ida in 2005, moving over southern Florida and the Florida Keys as a Category 1 storm before rapidly developing into a Category 5 storm targeting New Orleans. Katrina lost wind speed and eventually moved east and hit the Mississippi coast as a high-level Category 3 storm, wiping out towns like Pass Christian and Long Beach.
Katrina rains in southeastern Louisiana, and specifically in New Orleans, caused a levee to burst, completely flooding the city’s Ninth Ward, some homes with water on second levels .