On Friday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared there is no time left to evacuate New Orleans before Hurricane Ida makes landfall in the United States on Sunday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, New Orleans is where a storm surge combined with high tide may bring 11 feet of water onshore on Sunday, August 29.
Mayor Cantrell had initially ordered a forced evacuation of any portions of the city that are not protected by the city’s flood security system, as well as an optional evacuation warning for the rest of the region.
Residents were urged to have hurricane plans in place by Saturday afternoon, August 28. On Friday, August 27, Cantrell stated, “Do not wait.”
The mayor later stated there is not enough time to establish contraflow traffic; thus, no further forced evacuations will be required, following the advice of the National Weather Service and Governor John Bel Edwards.
“The situation is much more serious than it was six hours ago, and the hurricane, it represents a dramatic threat to the people of the city of New Orleans. Time is not on our side,” Cantrell claimed.
“We are not calling for a mandatory evacuation because the time simply is not on our side. We do not want to have people on the road, and therefore in greater danger,” Cantrell went on to say according to the Gateway Pundit.
New Orleans expects severe gusts of up to 110 miles per hour, according to Collin Arnold, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
“If you are going to evacuate, you know that’s a responsibility that you take on—do so as soon as possible,” Arnold said in a statement obtained by CNN. “You do not want to be stuck on the road, when the storms impacts arise.”
The National Hurricane Center predicts that Ida will impact the United States as a Category 4 hurricane with a wind of 140 mph.
“Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous, major hurricane when it reaches the coast,” warned the hurricane center.
On Friday, Hurricane Ida lashed western Cuba. The Category 1 hurricane is predicted to come into the U.S. Gulf Coast as an even harsher cyclone on Sunday, August 29, placing regions from Louisiana to Florida on high alert for widespread devastation.
Ida’s core was over western Cuba with sustained winds of 80 mph at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, August 27.
In predicting catastrophic devastation, officials in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other states released compulsory or optional evacuation orders on Friday, August 27.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center claimed Ida made landfall on Cuba’s Isle of Youth, or Isla de la Juventud, on Friday afternoon, after forming a tropical storm in the Caribbean on Thursday, August 26.
President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Louisiana and federal assistance to the state on Friday.
Serious hazards are expected, like winds, storm surge, and heavy rain. The hurricane center warned on Friday, that “Potentially devastating wind damage could occur where the core of Ida moves onshore.”
If storm surge and high tide coincide in a region stretching from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi River’s mouth, water reaching 10 to 15 feet above ground might come ashore, according to the hurricane center.
The storm center predicted 8 to 20 inches of rain from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi and Alabama through Monday morning, August 30.
Ida may head northeast as it advances inland after making landfall. The hurricane center forecasted 4 to 8 inches of rain across southern and central Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley.
“This is likely to result in considerable flash, urban, small stream, and riverine flooding,” said the hurricane center.
“Once Ida moves past western Cuba and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, it will be moving through a very favorable oceanic and atmospheric environment consisting of high ocean heat content waters, low vertical wind shear and a moist low- to mid-level atmosphere,” the NOAA report said. “These conditions are likely to result in a period of rapid strengthening during the next 24 to 36 hours. In fact, with the higher initial wind speed, the intensity guidance has significantly increased this cycle, and the bulk of the guidance now brings Ida to Category 4 intensity.”