Hurricane Ida intensifying, forecast to hit Louisiana as Category 4

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.

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.

On Saturday afternoon, Ida began to rapidly intensify over the Gulf Coast, with wind speeds increasing from 85 mph to 100 mph, making the storm a now Category 2 hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 96 to 110 mph) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

As of 2 p.m. EDT Saturday, Ida was located in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and was moving northwest at a speed of 16 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 30 miles from the storm’s center and tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 125 miles.

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Source: AccuWeather