Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a catastrophic Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph on Sunday (August 29) afternoon. Ida rapidly intensified in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with sustained winds increasing by 65 mph in just 24 hours.
Ida is dumping torrential rain and causing life-threatening storm surge as it moves inland.
"Everybody in the path of Ida should be prepared for very heavy rainfall, very strong winds, life-threatening storm surge along the coast, and isolated tornados as well," National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer McNatt told NBC News.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency deployed over 2,400 people to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
“FEMA is working with its federal, state and local partners as well as non-governmental agencies to support needs of areas affected by Ida. The agency positioned supplies such as meals, water, and generators to assist states with impacts from this storm,” the agency said.
Video shared on Facebook by Joshua Legg captured the worsening conditions as Ida moved into Grand Isle, Louisiana. Legg, a former police officer, told CNN that he is riding out the storm and that his home is rated to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.
Ida made landfall exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Katrina caused over 1,800 deaths and caused $25 billion worth of damage.
There is a chance that Ida will continue to strengthen as it moves inland and could become a Category 5 hurricane if its winds reach 157 mph.
"It shows absolutely no signs of weakening," Jamie Rhome, the acting deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, told NPR. "In fact, it may be still strengthening a little bit — even as it approaches the coastline."
"You're talking about a wide swath of hurricane-force winds pushing inland over this afternoon and evening, impacting the New Orleans area with hurricane-force winds and certainly gusts in that those conditions would absolutely bring down trees, widespread power outages," Rhome added.