Live Updates: Hurricane Ida strengthens into a 'catastrophic' Category 4 storm just hours before expected landfall

The path of Hurricane Ida's storm centre, headed into Louisiana and hitting parts Tennessee and Mississippi on the way. National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Ida is now a Category 4 hurricane and is heading towards the Gulf Coast.

Ida is the ninth and fourth named storms of the 2021 Atlantic Season.

As Ida enters Louisiana, Louisiana hospitals are already at capacity with COVID-19 patient.

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Hurricane Ida is moving towards the US Gulf Coast. It will make landfall in Louisiana on August 29th, the same date Hurricane Katrina hit the region 16 years ago.

The center of Ida will move over Cuba Saturday night and Sunday morning, before making landfall on the coast of Louisiana Sunday afternoon/evening. According to the National Hurricane Center, it is expected to move inland through portions of Louisiana and western Mississippi Monday.

Ida is the ninth named storm in the 2021 Atlantic season, and the fourth hurricane-forming storm. According to The Daily Advertiser's hospital capacity tables, Louisiana hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as Ida approaches the Gulf Coast.

Officials said that 911 services in New Orleans were facing "technical problems" as Hurricane Matthew approached Louisiana.

Video showing rising water levels in Louisiana

Video taken from Grand Isle in Louisiana, southeast region of the state along the Gulf of Mexico shows water rising quickly ahead of Ida’s approach.

Parts of Louisiana are affected by hurricane-force winds

As Hurricane Ida approaches, hurricane-force winds reach the coast of Louisiana. National Hurricane Center

As Hurricane Ida approaches the coast, hurricane-force winds are already affecting parts of Louisiana.

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The National Hurricane Center reported that some parts of Louisiana are reporting sustained winds speeds of 102 mph.

National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic), August 29, 2021

Hurricane Ida becomes a Category 4 storm

When the storm hits Louisiana, wind speeds will be at their highest. National Hurricane Center

Just hours before Ida is expected to land in Louisiana, it has become a Category 4.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Ida will bring maximum sustained winds up to 150 mph. The threat of "extremely dangerous inundation of 9ft or more above the ground is possible anywhere within the area of Morgan City, Louisiana to the coast of Mississippi."

The storm is moving towards Louisiana at a speed of 15 mph.

Hurricane Hunter aircraft found that Ida has become a major hurricane.

A Hurricane Hunter Gulfstream IV–SP (G-IV), aircraft warms up before taking off from MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla. Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Crew members fly to the eye and collect data. AP Photo/John Raoux

The National Hurricane Center (NHC), at 1 a.m. CT, issued a public advisory to Ida. It stated that an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft had observed the storm strengthen into a "major Hurricane."

"Though landfall is unlikely for 18 hours, the impacts will start well before then. "Tropical-storm-force winds will likely begin overnight. Therefore, all preparations must be rushed to complete any protections for life and property," NHC's forecast discussion stated.

According to NHC's forecast discussion, Ida continues to move northwest but its new track forecast is just slightly east of the last one.

According to the National Weather Service, parts of Louisiana could be uninhabitable for weeks and months.

On August 28, 2021, people walk along Canal Street, passing a boarded-up CVS Pharmacy in New Orleans. This was before Hurricane Ida arrived. On August 28, 2021, Hurricane Ida arrived in New Orleans and owners were already boarding up their businesses. Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

The National Weather Service New Orleans released a statement at 11:59 PM CDT that stated certain areas of Louisiana might be uninhabitable over extended periods. This could potentially extend to weeks or even months.

According to the statement, powerful storm surges and wind can cause structural damage to buildings, significant floating debris, beach erosion and flooding.

The time to evacuate and prepare is quickly approaching. You can either do so immediately or stay put. "Do not enter evacuated areas until officials give the all-clear to return," the statement stated.

More than 1,400 people incarcerated in southern Louisiana parishes were relocated before Ida landfall


Marlin Gusman, Orleans Parish Sheriff, told WDSU in New Orleans that the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and Louisiana Sheriff's Task Force facilitated Saturday's transport of over 1,400 prisoners to state prison facilities just before Ida arrives.

WDSU reported that 835 prisoners from Orleans Parish were removed and 600 from Plaquemines Parish. Gusman stated that 22 individuals held in custody had tested positive for COVID-19. They were then separated and taken to Wellpath Care for treatment, according to WDSU.

President Joe Biden talks about Hurricane Ida preparations in collaboration with FEMA and the National Hurricane Center

Joe Biden, the US President, speaks during a virtual briefing given by Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives on Hurricane Ida preparations in the South Court auditorium at the White House, Washington, DC on August 28, 2021. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

On Saturday, Kenneth Graham, Director of the National Hurricane Center, briefed Biden about Ida’s projected path. According to a White House briefing, Graham stated that Ida would be "very strong and destructive" with dangerous, life-threatening storm surges and significant rainfall that would affect both coastal and inland areas.

Deanne Criswell, FEMA Administrator, joined a videoconference hosted by Biden from National Response Coordination Center in order to discuss evacuation plans and concerns about widespread power cuts.

Biden approved Friday's emergency declaration for Louisiana, authorizing federal aid for all 64 parishes.

Gov. John Bel Edwards warns that Hurricane Ida could be the most powerful storm to hit Louisiana since 1850s

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks at a press conference in Baton Rouge on August 19, 2016 to update the public about FEMA's disaster recovery and temporary housing programs. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon, Louisiana Governor. John Bel Edwards called on residents to flee north of Baton Rouge, and west of Lafayette, as Hurricane Ida approaches. WAFB Channel 9 reported.

Edwards declared a national emergency on August 26 and wrote to President Joe Biden asking for federal assistance for Hurricane Ida. According to Edwards, the Category 4 storm will make landfall on Sunday, with winds up to 110 mph.

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