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Louisiana Declares Emergency for Possible Hurricane Ida; Southeast States Also Warned

August 27, 2021

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Louisiana has declared a state of emergency in preparation for what the National Hurricane Center warns could be a major hurricane. Florida, Mississippi and Alabama are also being warned to prepare for heavy rains and flooding.

Tropical Storm Ida is forecast to become a hurricane over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico in a day or two and to be at or near major hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf coast. On Sunday or early Monday, Ida could make landfall as a category 3 hurricane with winds of up to 111 miles (178 km) per hour.

There is an increasing risk of dangerous hurricane-force winds beginning Sunday along the portions of the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, including metropolitan New Orleans, where a Hurricane Watch is in effect.Ida on the Move: At 800 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center reported that the center of Tropical Storm Ida was located on Grand Cayman, moving toward the northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h) and this general motion should continue over the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of Ida will move away from the Cayman Islands this morning, pass near or over the Isle of Youth and western Cuba later today, and move over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico tonight and Saturday. The system is forecast to approach the U.S. northern Gulf coast on Sunday.

Ida is the ninth named storm of the current Atlantic hurricane season.

After landfall, Ida should weaken as it moves through the lower Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys. Forecasters are warning that of an increasing risk of life-threatening storm surge inundation along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, where a Storm Surge Watch is in effect.

Ida is expected to produce heavy rains across the central Gulf Coast from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi, Alabama, as well as the Lower Mississippi Valley starting Sunday into Monday, resulting in considerable flash, urban, small stream, and riverine flooding.

The Hurricane Watch is in effect for Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border as well as Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans.

The Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border.

“Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This type of threat contains additional problems because the window to prepare is so short. By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm.”

He warned of potential major power outages and limited travel.

Reuters reported that energy companies have begun airlifting workers from Gulf of Mexico oil platforms and moved vessels in anticipation of the storm.