(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Hurricane Ida is expected to be an extreme threat to Louisiana, when it makes landfall as a Category 4 storm Sunday evening. A state of emergency was declared Thursday in 12 parishes. Five parishes are under a voluntary or mandatory evacuation order already.
National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Schott said Ida is developing faster than expected. There could be a 10-15 feet surge between Morgan City to the mouth of the Mississippi, with the heaviest rainfall occurring Sunday and Monday.
“This is going to be a life-altering storm for many people,” Schott said, warning residents to take preparations for the storm very seriously.
In light of these developments, the Saturday Saints-Cardinals preseason game in New Orleans has been canceled. Gov. John Bel Edwards requested a Federal Declaration of Emergency Thursday night, sending a letter to President Joseph R. Biden asking for assistance.
“This one has the potential, the likelihood, to be very serious and very strong, potentially catastrophic for some. Let’s prepare,” Edwards said.
In addition, the entire Louisiana National Guard will be used in storm assistance, with more than 5,000 soldiers across the state ready to respond. There are 64 high water vehicles, 60 boats and 13 helicopters ready currently, along with other ongoing storm preparations.
The state is also still trying to deal with surging COVID-19 cases. As of noon Friday, there are 3,428 new COVID-19 cases statewide, with 2,684 COVID-19 patients hospitalized and 479 patients on ventilators.
Edwards said he will keep the mask mandate, which was set to expire Wednesday, in place for another month, warning that evacuations might cause COVID-19 numbers to surge again.
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