Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Ida makes its way toward the Gulf coast.
The storm, which has triggered hurricane watches in parts of the state, is gaining strength and could make landfall as soon as Sunday, the governor said in a press release.
“Unfortunately, all of Louisiana’s coastline is currently in the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Ida, which is strengthening and could come ashore in Louisiana as a major hurricane as Gulf conditions are conducive for rapid intensification,” Edwards said.
“Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
Ida is expected to deliver storm surges, dangerous winds, and rainfall on Sunday and Monday along the Louisiana coast, according to the National Weather Service. Winds of 110 mph are forecasted.
The state of emergency allows access to the state’s resources for various response efforts, the press release said.
“This type of threat contains additional problems because the window to prepare is so short. By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm,” Edwards said.
The Emergency Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is monitoring the storm along with FEMA and local authorities, according to the press release.
“Right now, we know conditions are primed for this system to strengthen,” GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom said. “We also know the reality of this impact all too well. That means we all must remain aware of the potential of this severe weather threat, finalize your emergency plans and be ready to adjust those plans due to any changes in the forecast or due to potential weather alerts being issues.”
Ida formed in the Caribbean on Thursday. The storm is expected to cross western Cuba starting Friday and gain strength as it makes its way toward the Gulf coast, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
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