Hurricane Ida could strengthen to Category 4 before hitting US

Hurricane Ida could strengthen to Category 4 before hitting US
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Hurricane Ida is predicted to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane before hitting the U.S. as residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida brace for the storm's impact. 

The Weather Channel reported Saturday that Ida is expected to reach a Category 4 strength hurricane when it hits the Gulf Coast on Sunday. The weather source stated that schools in Louisiana have shut down and hospitals are at capacity due to the coronavirus. 

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Ida upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane on Friday before hitting Cuba and is now a Category 2 storm as it makes its way toward the U.S. 

Flooding of nine feet or greater could occur when the hurricane reaches land, with winds currently reaching 105 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

The winds are expected to reach 140 miles per hour and cause “widespread tree damage and power outages.”

Multiple Louisiana officials have told residents to evacuate, and Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) told the state it has until nightfall to brace for impact. 

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell warned that the hurricane was rapidly approaching with force. 

"Time is not on our side. It's just rapidly growing. It's intensifying," Cantrell said, according to The Associated Press. 

"If you're voluntarily evacuating our city, now is the time to leave — you need to do so immediately. If you're planning to ride it out, again, make sure that you're able to hunker down,” Cantrell added.

Alabama Gov. Kay IveyKay IveyAlabama using COVID funds to build new prisons — is that Biden's vision? Street honoring Confederate president renamed in Alabama capital Alabama clears plan to use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons MORE (R) has issued a state of emergency for the coastal counties ahead of the storm. 

Ida comes on the weekend of the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, and killed 1,800 people.

“Above all, I’m urging the people of the area to pay attention and be prepared,” President BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE said Saturday.  “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 said.

Updated 5:38 p.m.