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Louisiana in Direct Path of ‘Life-Altering’ Hurricane Ida

 

Hurricane Ida rapidly gained strength on Friday evening as communities in southern Louisiana braced for a major category 4 storm with sustained winds of about 140mph and tens of thousands of residents were placed under mandatory evacuation orders. On Friday evening the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of life-threatening storm surge of up to 15ft in parts of coastal Louisiana. The NHC advised those in the storm’s path: “Actions to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in the warning area.” It warned of heavy rainfall in southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi and Alabama of up to 15in.

Ida became the ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season on Thursday as it formed in the Caribbean Sea on Thursday. The hurricane is due to make landfall in the US on Sunday, with officials warning of a “life-altering storm”. The cities of New Orleans and Lafayette, as well as the state capital, Baton Rouge, are under threat from Ida, which is forecast to reach the US somewhere between the parishes of Terrebonne and St Mary, slightly west of New Orleans.

 

The storm was traveling at 15mph with continuous winds of 80mph on Friday afternoon, with expectations it would rapidly gain speed. Coastal Louisiana was expected to experience tropical-storm-force winds by Saturday evening, leading officials to cancel a preseason NFL match between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals scheduled for Saturday.

 

Ida made its first landfall Friday afternoon on Cuba’s southern Isle of Youth. The Cuban government issued a hurricane warning for its westernmost provinces, where forecasters said as much as 20in of rain could fall in places, possibly unleashing deadly flash floods and mudslides.

In Louisiana, there were mandatory evacuation orders in place for a number of parishes surrounding New Orleans, as the Mayor told reporters she was also ordering mandatory evacuations of those living outside of the city’s levee protection system and advised many of those inside to leave as well.

Sunday will mark the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana, which decimated New Orleans and other coastal communities in 2005.



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