Officials are urging residents in areas along the Gulf Coast, specifically in Louisiana, to take final precautions ahead of Hurricane Ida, which is expected to hit southeastern Louisiana as a Category 4 storm on Sunday.
Driving the news: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Friday that the "next 24 hours are very, very important," urging the public to collect at least three days’ worth of food, water and medicines.
- "Now is the time to finish your preparations, and I want to encourage everyone that by nightfall tomorrow, you need to be where you intend to be to ride out the storm,” Edwards said at a press conference.
- At least five parishes in southeast Louisiana have called for mandatory evacuations ahead of the storm and Bel Edwards has issued a state of emergency. New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation on Friday for areas outside of the city's levees.
- Benjamin Schott, the meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in New Orleans, warned that time is running out for preparations. "Time is short, take advantage of every minute today as #Ida is going to pack a full punch as a very large CAT4 storm," Schott wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Time is short, take advantage of every minute today as #Ida is going to pack a full punch as a very large CAT4 storm. If you can leave, please consider and do so, if you don't have the means to do so contact your Parish EM office NOW for assistance and guidance on shelters https://t.co/ywpsZN3tTG— Benjamin Schott (@BenjaminSchott) August 28, 2021
FEMA also urged anyone in the forecast path "[to] complete final preparations as soon as possible."
- FEMA has pre-positioned supplies, including meals and water, to assist states with the impacts from the storm, per a Friday press release.
- The agency has also deployed nearly 500 employees to Louisiana and Texas, and more than 2,000 employees to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
- A FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Additionally, the entire Louisiana National Guard, which includes about 5,000 members, has been deployed to respond to the storm, per The Advocate.
The big picture: Hurricane Ida is gaining strength Saturday over the Gulf of Mexico and is predicted to hit southeastern Louisiana Sunday evening, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
- The storm has the potential to cause significant damage from high winds, nearly 2 feet of rain and up to 15 feet of storm surge.
- New Orleans is likely to experience hurricane-force winds and a storm surge.
Go deeper: Hurricane Ida to hit Louisiana Sunday as a Category 4 storm