Hurricane Ida UPGRADED to Category 4 as Louisiana braces for catastrophic damage

Hurricane Ida intensifying over the gulf of Mexico

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Hurricane Ida is currently classified by the NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) as a major hurricane. The NHC has now upgraded Hurricane Ida to Category 4 hurricane status with 130mph maximum sustained winds. In its latest public advisory, the NHC warned of “life-threatening storm surge” as a result of the system, in addition to “potentially catastrophic wind damage” and flooding.

The NHC has warned that “rapid strengthening” is forecast over the next 12 hours.

Hurricane Ida is on course to make landfall along the Louisiana coast this afternoon.

Mandatory evacuations have been implemented in coastal communities across the southeast of the state in preparation for Hurricane Ida’s arrival.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said at a press conference on Saturday: “This will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in Louisiana since at least the 1850s.”

He added: “We can also tell you your window of time is closing. It is rapidly closing.”

Hurricane Ida comes as the US marks 16 years ago this week that Louisiana was hit and devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Category 5 Hurricane Katrina killed more than 1,800 people when it struck in 2005.

Hurricane Ida’s latest path update

As of 2am CDT (8am BST), Hurricane Ida was about 100 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 175 miles southeast of Houma, Louisiana.

The NHC said in its 1am CDT (7am BST) public advisory: “At 100 AM CDT (0600 UTC), the centre of the eye of Hurricane Ida was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars near latitude 27.6 North, longitude 88.7 West.

“Ida is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h), and this general motion should continue through tonight and early Monday, followed by a slower northward motion on Monday afternoon.”

By Monday night, the NHC forecast a “northeastward turn” for Ida.

The NHC added: “On the forecast track, the centre of Ida will continue moving across the north-central Gulf of Mexico this morning, and make landfall along the coast of Louisiana within the hurricane warning area this afternoon or evening.

“Ida is then forecast to move well inland over portions of Louisiana and western Mississippi on Monday and Monday night.”

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Hurricane Ida warnings and watches

As of 1am CDT on Sunday, the following watches and warnings have been issued by the NHC:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • East of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border
  • Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Mobile Bay

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Cameron Louisiana to west of Intracoastal City Louisiana
  • Mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border

The NHC has issued warnings for several areas for storm surge, heavy rainfall and flooding.

The NHC also warned of possible tornadoes across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle today and on Monday.

There are also warnings for swells and “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions”.

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