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Hurricane Ida is centered 440 miles southeast of New Orleans and moving northwest at slightly over 15 miles per hour.
Hurricane Ida intensifies, expected to impact New Orleans

As Hurricane Ida approaches the northern Gulf Coast this weekend, it is expected to rapidly build into a major hurricane, bringing life-threatening storm surge, hazardous downpour floods, potentially catastrophic winds, and tornadoes.

The mayor of New Orleans has ordered citizens to evacuate unprotected city neighborhoods, as Hurricane Ida approaches the Louisiana coast.

“Now is the time,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a press conference on Friday, urging those living beyond the city’s levee system to evacuate.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Ida is expected to become an extremely dangerous major hurricane by Sunday.

Although the influence of climate change on storm frequency is unknown, we do know that rising sea surface temperatures warm the air above, making more energy available to generate hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. As a result, with more extreme rainfall, they are likely to be more intense.

By the time it approaches the Gulf of Mexico’s northern coast on Sunday, the hurricane is expected to be a category 4 storm, according to forecasters.

More than 80 oil rigs have been evacuated in the Gulf of Mexico, and half of the region’s oil and gas production has been halted. On Friday, Hurricane Ida moved over western Cuba, bringing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) on the Isle of Youth.

The 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans in 2005 after making landfall as a category 3 storm, falls on Sunday. Katrina flooded 80% of New Orleans and killed over 1,800 people.

Governor Bel Edwards has issued a state of emergency and ordered residents along the state’s coast to seek shelter beginning Saturday evening. According to the White House, the federal government is also preparing emergency measures.

“When Ida advances across the south-eastern and central Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, steady to rapid strengthening is expected, and Ida is expected to be a major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast,” the NHC bulletin read on Friday afternoon.

Both Cuba and the United States are expecting dangerous storm surges. Sea water could flow over the New Orleans levee system and into the city, according to experts, if they strike during high tides.

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