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Hurricane Ida set to reach category 3 on Katrina anniversary

Hurricane Ida set to reach category 3 on Katrina anniversary
Hurricane Ida set to make landfall in Louisiana on Sunday

The mayor of New Orleans has called for a mandatory evacuation of anyone living outside the city’s levee protection system as category 3 Hurricane takes aim at Louisiana.

Forecasters say Hurricane Ida could be a major Category 3 hurricane with top winds of 120 mph when it slams into the city on the sixteenth anniversary of Katrina, forecasters say.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered the mandatory evacuation and called for a voluntary evacuation for the rest of Orleans Parish.

Ida was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane by the National Weather Service on Friday, and is set to hit Cuba before making landfall in Louisiana on Sunday.

If that happens and it barrels into New Orleans on 29 August, it would take place on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed nearly 2,000 people, destroyed 100,000 homes and flooded 80 per cent of the city.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared an emergency for all of the state and says people should be in a safe place to ride out by Saturday night.

He has also requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to the White House.

“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,” said Mr Edwards.

“The people of Louisiana have been tested time and time again, and while it is my hope and prayer that this storm will not bring destruction to our state, we should be prepared to take the brunt of the severe weather.

“By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm.”

Ms Cantrell told a Friday news conference that all Covid-19 patients in the city would shelter in place during the hurricane, and there was no plan to evacuate them.

The storm could bring up to 11ft of surge outside levees with dangerous winds and heavy rain across the region.

Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans could see a five feet surge.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered south of New Orleans effective at 3 pm local time on Friday.

Any category 3 hurricane, which has winds of between 111mph and 129mph on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is considered a “major” hurricane capable of causing “devastating damage.”

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for parts of Louisiana and all of the Mississippi coast, including New Orleans and Biloxi.

“The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves,” the NWS said.

A tropical storm watch is now in effect for parts of Mississippi and the entire Alabama coastline.

A storm surge watch also has been issued for the entire coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including the cities of Lake Charles, New Orleans, Biloxi and Mobile.

Organiser have cancelled Louisiana Comic Con, which was scheduled to be held in Lafayette on Saturday and Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints announced that they have moved up the kick-off of their pre-season game against the Arizona Cardinals from 8pm ET on Saturday to 1PM ET.

Ida is the ninth named storm of the 2021 hurricane season.

The categories, in order of strength, are tropical depression, tropical storm and hurricane, categories 1 through 5.