Louisiana governor declares emergency ahead of Storm Ida

August 27, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Thursday ahead of Tropical Storm Ida, warning all of the state’s coast is in the forecast cone of what could become a major hurricane in coming days.

Edwards called on residents to immediately begin storm preparations. The governor said in a news release that the emergency declaration is an administrative step that authorizes use of state resources to aid in storm response efforts.

“Unfortunately, all of Louisiana’s coastline is currently in the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Ida, which is strengthening and could come ashore in Louisiana as a major hurricane as Gulf conditions are conducive for rapid intensification,” Edwards said in his statement.

“Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

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On Thursday evening, the storm was about 120 miles west of Negril, Jamaica, and had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). The National Hurricane Center said Ida is expected to become a hurricane Friday and enter the southeast Gulf of Mexico on Friday night, approaching the northern U.S. Gulf Coast at or near major hurricane intensity Sunday.

“This type of threat contains additional problems because the window to prepare is so short,” Edwards said. “By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm.”

Meanwhile, the mayor of Grand Isle, a Louisiana town on a narrow barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, called for a voluntary evacuation late Thursday for its residents ahead of Ida. A mandatory evacuation will go into effect Friday morning, Mayor David Camardelle said.