- Residents in some areas are advised to leave ahead of the storm.
- Oil and gas platforms are being evacuated.
- Ida could make landfall as a major hurricane on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall near New Orleans.
- New Orleans Saints move up time of preseason game at Superdome.
Voluntary evacuations are underway in parts of Louisiana as Ida tracks toward the upper Gulf Coast.
A voluntary evacuation was issued Friday morning for residents in LaFourche Parish, especially those in mobile homes, recreational vehicles or low-lying areas. The area is southwest of New Orleans.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation announced that tolls will be suspended on the LA 1 Expressway in Leeville in Lafourche Parish.
A voluntary evacuation advisory was in effect for parts of Jefferson Parish, and officials in Terrebonne Parish said they were considering evacuations.
Schools in Terrebonne and LaFourche will be closed Monday, according to Houma Today.
Officials recommended that businesses and their employees leave Port Fourchon at the southern tip of the LaFourche Parish. The port serves the offshore oil and gas industry.
Workers were being ferried from oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico Friday morning, Reuters reported. Royal Dutch Shell and BP were evacuating eight platforms each. Several other companies were following suit.
A hurricane watch stretches from Cameron, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama state line, including the New Orleans metro area. Hurricane watches are typically issued 48 hours in advance of when tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive since these conditions make it difficult to make preparations for a hurricane, once they begin.
A storm surge watch has also been issued from the Texas-Louisiana state line to the Alabama-Florida state line.
(MORE: The Latest Forecast for Tropical Storm Ida)
Preparations were underway in several other areas that could also be impacted.
The New Orleans Saints moved up the time of their home game Saturday to noon from 7 p.m. The matchup against the Arizona Cardinals will take place at the Caesars Superdome.
“The time to prepare is now,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news briefing Thursday afternoon.
Edwards declared a state of emergency Thursday night.
“This type of threat contains additional problems because the window to prepare is so short,” Edwards said in a later news release. “By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm.”
Shoppers rushed to buy supplies.
School is canceled today in Grand Isle, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles south of New Orleans. The town’s mayor, David Camardelle, announced that a voluntary evacuation was underway Thursday night for campers, boats and RVs and that a mandatory evacuation would go into effect after 10:30 a.m. Friday. It wasn’t immediately clear who would fall under the mandatory order.
A state of emergency was declared in Jefferson and Iberia parishes. Plaquemines Parish recommended that those who might need transportation in the event of an evacuation pre-register with the parish.
Sandbags are being handed out in some areas, workers are clearing storm drains and preparing infrastructure.
(MORE: Are Masks Required in Hurricane Shelters?)
The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board said 96 of the city’s 99 drainage pumps are available for service in case of flooding in the city.
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites in the city will close at noon Friday in order to pack up tents and equipment ahead of the storm.
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshall reminded everyone to follow safety rules when using generators. That includes not placing generators inside or adjacent to buildings or enclosed structures. Several people died while using generators after last year’s string of storms that hit the state.
The storm could make landfall on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Today, meanwhile, is the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Laura, which battered southwest Louisiana last year.
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