By WHY VERDANDI
Businesses and residents of Hathian are preparing as a Category 4 storm is expected to hit the Louisiana coast Sunday afternoon or night. The National Hurricane Center has stated that the storm has the potential to cause death and serious property damage to New Orleans and other populated areas along the northern Gulf Coast and inland. As a coastal city, Hathian is in real danger so citizens should take steps to prepare.
The hurricane, given the moniker of Ida, is intensifying today as it approaches the Louisiana coast. Landfall is expected Sunday afternoon or night. The storm is currently a Category 2 hurricane, with winds ranging from 85 to 100 mph. The National Hurricane Center predicts Ida will strengthen to a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds by Sunday.
The National Weather Center warns that the storm will be life-threatening to many, with an ocean surge of up to 10 to 15 feet above normally dry land at the coast while producing “potentially catastrophic wind damage” and “significant” inland flooding. The storm-force winds are expected to hit by early Sunday morning, while conditions will deteriorate early on Monday. “Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the coast of Louisiana,” the Hurricane Center wrote.
A hurricane warning is in place and stretches from Louisiana’s central coast to the border with Mississippi. Ken Graham, director of the Hurricane Center, urged people in the hurricane warning zone to complete preparations Saturday. “You’ve got today, tonight’s going to be dark, tomorrow we start having the winds come in,” he said.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Friday issued a mandatory evacuations for residents outside the city’s levee system, as the surge of water is expected to reach 11 feet. Voluntary evacuations are strongly suggested elsewhere in the city and in outlying areas.