MIAMI — Tropical Storm Ida prompted a hurricane watch for New Orleans and an emergency declaration for the state of Louisiana as it pushed across the Caribbean toward an anticipated strike on Cuba today.
Ida could be near major hurricane strength by the time it reaches the northern Gulf Coast, which forecasters predict may happen sometime late Sunday or early Monday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ida was expected to cross the tobacco-rich western stretch of Cuba as a tropical storm starting Friday afternoon, then strengthen over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico.
“Unfortunately, all of Louisiana’s coastline is currently in the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Ida, which is strengthening and could come ashore in Louisiana as a major hurricane as Gulf conditions are conducive for rapid intensification,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm,” the governor added.
A hurricane watch was in effect from Cameron, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border — including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans.