Ida expected to be major hurricane at Louisiana landfall: Latest forecast

(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Ida is forecast to strengthen into Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall in Louisiana.

First, Ida is expected to become a hurricane on Friday as it passes over Cuba.

The latest forecast shows Ida making landfall in Louisiana Sunday night into Monday morning, with sustained winds of 120 mph.

Storm surge could reach 11 feet along the Gulf Coast south of New Orleans and 5 feet on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans.

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for parts of Louisiana and all of the Mississippi coast, including the cities of New Orleans and Biloxi. A tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of Mississippi and the entire Alabama coastline. A storm surge watch also has been issued for the entire coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including the cities of Lake Charles, New Orleans, Biloxi and Mobile.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency.

“Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Edwards said in a statement Thursday.

Heavy rain up to 20 inches could induce life-threatening flash flooding.

Flash flooding also is possible in Alabama and Tennessee as Ida moves north. Areas in Tennessee hit with deadly, catastrophic flooding a week ago could suffer further destruction.

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