Hurricane Ida is rapidly intensifying and will likely a category 4 hurricane at landfall.
Edwards in a Friday press conference stated that the National Hurricane Center currently places landfall in Terrebonne or St. Mary Parish Sunday evening.
The Governor says that now is the time to finish preparations. "By nightfall on Saturday everyone is asked to be where they are supposed to be."
The storm is expected to make landfall sometime Sunday afternoon or evening as a major hurricane. See the latest weather information here.
Edwards reiterated that once the storm makes landfall everyone should be secure and not driving around. Routes for evacuations and traffic updates can be found on DOTD.org
President Joe Biden approved the emergency declaration for Louisiana. "This declaration is the key to us being able to respond to the storm." he said.
On Thursday, Edwards declared a state of emergency for the state ahead of any potential impacts. Some local parishes have already made similar declarations.
The National Weather Service was on hand to provide more information on the storm. Forecasts indicate the storm will be a category 4 at landfall Sunday evening.
"This is stronger than Laura from last year. This will be a life-altering storm," Ben Shot with NWS said.
The storm will be moving across a very "pristine" are of the Gulf, Ben said. They expect a large path of destruction from wind with this storm.
THe NWS says that Louisiana should not just focus on the center line of the storm for this hurricane. Wind threat will still be felt far out from the storm, they say. These will cause significant impact.
Extreme surge of 10 to 15 feet is expected with this storm, from Morgan City to the Mississippi River. The extent will affect anyone with coastal interest. These numbers are expected to increase.
Southeastern Louisiana will be seeing large amounts of rainfall from the storm, including flooding. Tornadoes on the eastern side of the storm may also experience spin up tornadoes.
Edwards says with these threats and the time to prepare, residents should take advantage of the time they have.
He announced state closures in several parishes. See those here.
Voluntary and Mandatory evacuations have been issued for some parishes in South. Here is a current list
1,600 guardsmen are being prepared for hurricane support. More than 5,000 have been activated and are ready to respond. Vehicles, boats, and helicopters are ready to help residents. DOTD has also mobilized equipment including buses which are housed in New Orleans and Lafayette
125 buses in Louisiana with a majority in New Orleans.
Friday afternoon, the Saints game was canceled again The Cardinals on Saturday, Edwards said.
"It would not be appropriate that the NFL game would be going on when we are asking people to be prepared," he said.
Edwards says that more people died following hurricane Laura due to CO2 poisoning, limb cutting and heat conditions. In regards to power and power outages, Edwards says that many may be without power. Line men from power companies in Louisiana are preparing for that threat.
Regarding COVID, Edwards says that transmission remains high and with the state seeing our highest numbers, residents should remember to practice mitigation.
Dr. Joseph Kanter says that numbers for COVID has softened this week but chances of infection are still high. He said that while residents look through plans, they should take COVID into account. Stick with your family unit, mask up and be socially distant.
"Hospitals are still very busy, postponing procedures, avoid emergency rooms if you do not need it," he said. "If you have special medical needs, do what you need to do now and prepare."
211 can help those with medical issues who need assistance ahead of the storm.
COVID testing and vaccine sites are slowing down ahead of Hurricane Ida. Those scheduled for vaccinations should reschedule if the storm is affecting their appointments. Dr. Kanter says that some death may not be preventable but most are. Vehicle accidents, high water deaths are the most common during a storm. Unsafe generator use and carbon monoxide poison, Kanter noted, were two other common deaths following storms including Hurricane Laura and Delta.
"Please don't put yourself, your family, or first responders in harms way," he said.
Indoor mask mandate which is set to expire on September 1, 2021 will remain in place Edwards said. "We will continue to do the things that are required," he said.
KATC has put together a guide for what you need to know before, during and after a storm. Click here for more.
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