Hurricane Ida will be a dangerous and life-threatening storm, city, state and national public safety officials said Saturday in a mid-day briefing.
Ida is still expected to make landfall west of New Orleans on Sunday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane.
“If you’re leaving, which I recommend, do that now,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “We need to make sure you are in a safe place.
“If you stay, you need to be prepared. Prepare for damaging wind, power outages, heavy rain, tornadoes. What I’m told is that this storm in no way will be weakening, and there’s always an opportunity for the storm to strengthen.”
Anyone who is not on the road by this evening will need to shelter in place, said Collin Arnold, the city’s homeland security director. Tropical storm winds are expected by early Sunday.
Preparations also need to be completed today by nightfall, officials said. That includes clearing storm drains; securing or bringing in lawn furniture, garbage cans and anything else that’s outside; and covering windows with plywood or shutters. Gather supplies — medication, food and water for three days, radio, flashlight and extra batteries — before the end of the day. Vehicles can now be moved to neutral grounds.
“I’m imploring you to take this storm seriously,” he said. Peak wind is expected to occur Sunday afternoon and evening. At least 8 to 16 inches of rain are expected. A few tornadoes will be possible in passing rain bands.
The city may not be able to respond to all 911 calls during dangerous winds or on flooded streets, officials warned. Residents are asked to call 911 for life-threatening situations only.
The Louisiana SPCA cannot take in any more animals, officials said. Too many people have dropped off their pets ahead of the storm.
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