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Latest On Hurricane Ida: See Possible Cat 4 Storm's Track, Forecast, Louisiana Evacuations

Category 4 Hurricane Ida is hours away from making landfall in southeast Louisiana, but more strengthening is not expected, forecasters said Sunday morning.

Forecasters now say the storm could reach 155 miles per hour before landfall. A storm is considered a category 5 hurricane if it reaches 157 mph.

The latest NHC bulletin said Ida will make landfall in Louisiana, where hurricane watches and warnings have been issued ahead of the storm's Sunday arrival. Sunday also marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Officials said those in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi should have a hurricane plan in place, and some parishes have mandated evacuations ahead of Ida.

Here's what we know about Hurricane Ida as of 7 a.m. Sunday.

Hurricane Ida

Forecasters said around 7 a.m. Sunday that Hurricane Ida was about 60 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River and 85 miles from New Orleans.

The storm, currently in the Gulf of Mexico, has sustained, hurricane-force winds of 150 mph. It continues its slow march northwest at 13 mph.

Just before landfall in Louisiana, forecasters said Ida could sustain 150 mph winds until it reaches landfall, making it an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane. Significant weakening is expected after Ida makes landfall late Sunday morning or in the afternoon in Terrebonne Parish.

Watches, Warnings and Weather To Expect

Parts of Louisiana, including metro New Orleans, are under hurricane and storm surge watches ahead of Ida's arrival.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border
  • Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Mobile Bay.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Cameron Louisiana to west of Intracoastal City Louisiana
  • Mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border

Forecasters said Ida will also bring with it a dangerous storm surge to the region, rising water levels up to 16 feet in some areas.

  • Port Fourchon, LA to Mouth of the Mississippi River: 12-16 ft
  • Morgan City, LA to Port Fourchon, LA: 8-12 ft
  • Mouth of the Mississippi River to Bay St. Louis, MS including Lake Borgne: 8-12 ft
  • Bay St. Louis, MS to Ocean Springs, MS: 6-9 ft
  • Burns Point, LA to Morgan City, LA: 5-8 ft
  • Lake Pontchartrain: 5-8 ft
  • Ocean Springs, MS to MS/AL border: 4-7 ft
  • Lake Maurepas: 4-6 ft
  • East of Intracoastal City, LA to Burns Point, LA including Vermilion Bay: 3-5 ft
  • MS/AL border to AL/FL border including Mobile Bay: 3-5 ft
  • Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, LA to Intracoastal City, LA: 1-3 ft
  • AL/FL border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line including Pensacola Bay: 1-3 ft

There is now “some risk” that storm surge from Hurricane Ida could overtop levees on the West Bank, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said.

“Based on the latest NHC surge warning they are seeing the potential for between 10 and 15’ on the West Bank. Our 100-year elevation is between 12 and 15’ feet in this area so there is now some risk of overtopping on the West Bank,” Ricky Boyett, chief of public affairs for the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told WWNO.

Ahead of Ida's landfall, city officials in New Orleans called for mandatory evacuations outside of the protective levee system. Evacuations are voluntary for the rest of the city's residents. In a Friday news conference, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said city officials would not issue a mandatory evacuation order for residents in the city or implement contraflow for those voluntarily evacuating due to the storm moving more rapidly than anticipated.

Parts of Terrebonne Parish were also under a mandatory evacuation. Officials said Port Fourchon in Lafourche Parish and Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish were under voluntary evacuation.

Hurricane Season 2021

Following a hectic hurricane season, particularly for Louisiana where five storms made landfall in 2020, meteorologists expect 2021 to be a busy year for the tropics as well.

This year's season could see between 15 to 21 named storms, 7 to 10 of those being hurricanes.

So far, names Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace and Henri have been used.

Unlike last year, when forecasters had to pull from the Greek alphabet after all available storm names were used up, NHC will no longer use names like Zeta or Delta. Instead, forecasters will use names from a supplemental list.

Storms are categorized per the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: Tropical depression (below 38 mph), Tropical Storm (39-73 mph), Category 1 (74-95 mph), Category 2 (96-110 mph), Category 3 (111-129 mph), Category 4 (130-156 mph) and Category 5 (more than 157 mph).

For more information on the tropical depression and other disturbances monitored by NHC,click here.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

Copyright 2021 WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio. To see more, visit WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio.

Katelyn Umholtz
Tegan Wendland is a freelance producer with a background in investigative news reporting. She currently produces the biweekly segment, Northshore Focus.