Biden urges residents to prepare as Hurricane Ida nears US

President Biden on Saturday urged residents in Louisiana and surrounding states to “pay attention and be prepared” as Hurricane Ida nears the Gulf Coast and is expected to bring strong winds overnight and officially make landfall Sunday. 

Biden gave the warning during a virtual briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, noting that Hurricane Ida, which the National Hurricane Center has predicted will reach at least Category 4 strength before making landfall, is “turning into a very, very dangerous storm.” 

The president went on to note that the massive storm is “heading straight for Louisiana.”

This weekend marks the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm that devastated cities along the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people. 

Biden said that the anniversary is “a stark reminder that we have to do everything we can to prepare the people in the region and make sure we’re ready to respond.” 

“Above all, I’m urging the people of the area to pay attention and be prepared,” he added. “Have supplies for your household on hand. Follow the guidance of local authorities.”

“If you have to move to shelter, make sure you wear a mask and try to keep some distance because we’re still facing the highly contagious delta variant as well,” Biden explained. 

Biden on Friday approved an emergency declaration for Louisiana, authorizing FEMA to help state and local leaders coordinate relief efforts in response to Ida. 

The president said Saturday that he had also spoken with the governors of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi “to ask what they need from us” before the storm arrives.

The Biden administration has deployed 500 FEMA emergency response personnel to Texas and Louisiana, adding the 2,000 emergency workers already directed there to help respond to COVID-19 surges. 

The White House has also “prepositioned food, water, generators and other supplies in the area,” Biden said, adding that “power restoration and mobile communications support teams are also en route.” 

Louisiana officials in the southern and southeast portions of the state have already ordered voluntary or mandatory evacuations in areas along Hurricane Ida’s path. 

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) on Friday urged “voluntary evacuation” and told residents to “shelter in place,” noting the city did not have time to issue a mandatory evacuation order. 

“Hurricane Ida represents a dramatic threat to the people of the city of New Orleans,” she said during a news conference. 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) tweeted Saturday that Ida “will bring serious impacts across the state,” adding that “Louisianans have until nightfall to get ready.”

Tags Alabama Atlantic hurricanes Federal Emergency Management Agency Hurricane Ida Hurricane Katrina Joe Biden LaToya Cantrell Louisiana Mississippi Texas White House
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