President Biden declared a state of emergency in the state on Friday afternoon, directing the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.
In a Facebook post, the Plaquemines Parish Government urged all citizens to begin personal preparations warning that the mandatory evacuation would take effect at 3 p.m. ET for its entire East Bank and the West Bank from Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery to Venice.
“In addition, a Voluntary Evacuation from the community of Oakville to Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery,” the government said.
As the storm swirled near the Isle of Youth, Cuba, it was forecast to intensify further over the next couple of days.
The National Hurricane Center said Ida – which is pointed directly at New Orleans – will reach 120 mph before making landfall in the Mississippi River delta late Sunday.
Projected to become a Category 3 hurricane, the storm would strike 16 years to the day since Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds near the riverside community of Buras in Plaquemines Parish.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Thursday, warning residents to make preparations.
“This type of threat contains additional problems because the window to prepare is so short,” he said, adding that residents should be where they “intend to ride out the storm” by Saturday night.
The Emergency Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is monitoring the storm and coordinating with FEMA and local parish emergency preparedness offices, the release said.
“Right now we know conditions are primed for this system to strengthen,” GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom said in a statement. “We also know the reality of this impact all too well. That means we all must remain aware of the potential of this severe weather threat, finalize your emergency plans and be ready to adjust those plans due any changes in the forecast or due to potential weather alerts being issued.”
The mayor of the Gulf town of Grand Isle said its Thursday voluntary evacuation order would become mandatory on Friday.
The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane’s maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 75 mph with higher gusts.
Ida is projected shift near western Cuba later Friday before moving over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico this weekend and approaching the northern Gulf Coast.
A hurricane watch was in effect from Cameron, La., to the Mississippi-Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and New Orleans.
Dangerous storm surge and the tide are forecast to cause normally dry coastal areas to be flooded and the hurricane center warned that Ida could overlap some levees.
Ida is also projected to produce a total rainfall accumulation of 8 to 16 inches, with 20 inches in isolated areas from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi and Alabama through Monday morning.
Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are possible later Monday across southern and central Mississippi – with the potential for considerable flash, urban, small stream and riverine flooding – as Ida turns northeast and moves inland.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.