Louisiana residents are already preparing for the potential fallout. Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a State of Emergency Thursday due to the potential impacts of the storm, citing that hurricane force winds of 110 mph were in the forecast.
“Unfortunately, all of Louisiana’s coastline is currently in the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Ida,” Edwards said. “Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Everyone should be in the place they intend to ride the storm out by Saturday evening, the governor said.
“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,” the governor added.
A hurricane watch is in effect from Cameron, Louisiana, eastward to the Mississippi/Alabama border, including New Orleans, according to the NHC. Meanwhile, parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are under a tropical storm watch.
When Ida does arrive, normally dry areas near the coast could be flooded by “rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC said. From Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, that surge could reach up to 11 ft.
The Gulf Coast could be in for hurricane-level winds as early as Saturday, and through Monday the area could see 8 to 12 inches of rain, the NHC said.
But before the US deals with Ida, the Caribbean will have to face the storm.
First, Ida is expected to pass over the Cayman Islands, then impact the Isle of Youth and western Cuba Friday.
The Cayman Islands as well as Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio, and the Isle of Youth are all under tropical storm warnings. There, the storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico.
“Once the system moves into the Gulf of Mexico, conditions are expected to be conducive for additional strengthening, and rapid intensification is explicitly shown in the NHC forecast between 48 and 72 hours,” the NHC said.
“The NHC intensity forecast brings the system near major hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday.”
CNN’s Judson Jones, Rebekah Riess and Devon Sayers.