(ETH) – Evacuations were underway Saturday across parts of the Gulf Coast as officials around the region urged residents to make final preparations and heed warnings ahead of the life-threatening impacts posed by Hurricane Ida, which was forecast to rapidly intensify on Saturday and roar ashore Sunday.
According to Accuweather, Louisiana remained squarely in Ida’s focus, AccuWeather forecasters said, and the strengthening storm was around 440 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, which was struck by major Hurricane Zeta last autumn.
Ida is set to become the first landfalling hurricane on United States soil in 2021, and AccuWeather forecasters warn Ida is set to slam into Louisiana as a very dangerous Category 4 major hurricane and unleash major impacts across the Gulf Coast and Southeast. AccuWeather forecasters, expecting extreme impacts for the Gulf Coast, have rated Ida a 4 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes.
The Weather Channel is warning that a hurricane warning is posted from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, eastward to the mouth of the Pearl River, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and the New Orleans metro area.
Tropical-storm-force winds are forecast to arrive in parts of this region late tonight into early Sunday, with hurricane conditions developing Sunday and Sunday night. A tropical storm warning is posted from Cameron, Louisiana east to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and from the Pearl River in Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border.
Tropical storm warnings are also in effect for inland southern Mississippi. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin here tonight or early Sunday. Finally, a tropical storm watch has been issued for inland portions of Mississippi and Louisiana, where tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.