Hurricane Ida became a Category 4 storm early this morning, rapidly intensifying to sustained winds of 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
That’s just 7 mph from making it a Category 5 storm. The hurricane has quickly increased in intensity since striking Cuba on Friday, threatening to be an
“extremely dangerous major hurricane”
It makes landfall along the Louisiana coast on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The NHC said,
“Ida is poised to strengthen further and based on recent satellite images it appears that strengthening is imminent.”
Here’s what’s happening:
- An elevated weather station at Pilot’s Station East near Southwest Pass, Louisiana, recently reported a wind gust up to 107 mph
- A hurricane warning remains in effect from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to the mouth of the Pearl River and includes Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and New Orleans
- A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. ET for parts of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the Storm Prediction Center
- Quick-moving, brief tornadoes will be possible throughout Sunday
- There is also a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation Sunday in areas along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Hurricane #Ida Advisory 14: Eye of Extremely Dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Ida Nearing The Southeastern Coast of Louisiana. Catastrophic Storm Surge and Hurricane-Force Winds Moving Onshore. https://t.co/VqHn0u1vgc— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 29, 2021
Ida falls on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s Gulf Coast landfall, which led to the deaths of more than 1,800 people in the region.
Collin Arnold, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told CNN,
“August 29 is an important date in history here.
A lot of people remember what happened 16 years ago. It’s time to hunker down tonight and be where you need to be.”
Airlines have canceled all flights arriving to and leaving from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport today.
Residents in the area are quickly running out of time to leave, and those who have not departed in time should work to find a safe place to hunker down.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Saturday said that if people plan to voluntarily evacuate — which she recommends — it was time to go.
“Time is not on our side. It’s just rapidly growing, it’s intensifying.
If you’re voluntarily evacuating our city, now is the time to leave — you need to do so immediately, if you’re planning to ride it out again make sure that you’re able to hunker down.”
Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng urged on Saturday for residents in low-lying areas to evacuate before Ida hits,
“I want to reiterate the storm surge that we are expecting is unsurvivable. We need you to leave immediately.”
The storm will further strain resources already stretched thin in the midst of the latest Covid-19 pandemic surge. Hospitals in New Orleans will not evacuate and instead shelter in place while Ida makes its way through the region.
You can check for live updates on Weather.com.
Hurricane Ida “is going to be a very serious test for our levee systems,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says. “… And it comes at a time that, quite frankly, it presents some very challenging difficulties for us with the hospitals being so full of Covid patients.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/a8ti0WPyEv— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 29, 2021
EYE OF A MONSTER: @NOAA‘s #GOESEast 🛰️ gives an up-close look at the lightning swirling around the eye of #HurricaneIda, a dangerous Cat. 4 #hurricane, nearing the coast of southeastern #Louisiana.— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) August 29, 2021
Please stay safe!
More: https://t.co/arzjJiHnjF#LAwx #MSwx #idahurricane #ida pic.twitter.com/QosgjNT87l
(Images via NOAA; via CNN)