Miami, Aug 29 (EFE News) – Hurricane Ida became a Category 4 storm Sunday as it rapidly intensified to sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The NHC warned the storm is “extremely dangerous” and has the potential to damage areas to the extent of making them uninhabitable for weeks or months.
The hurricane is about 65 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, where it is heading at a speed of 15 mph.
Ida strengthened rapidly Friday when it hit the warm, deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico after striking the island of Cuba.
The winds increased from 80 mph to 105 mph in just 14 hours and in less than 24 hours became a “major” hurricane.
Ida is expected to strike the US coast Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday, local authorities evacuated thousands of people due to the risk of flooding in the low-lying areas of Louisiana and New Orleans.
The storm could raise sea levels up 16 feet and rainwater accumulation up 24 inches in the area, NHC warned.
This could cause severe urban flooding, potentially deadly flash floods and tornadoes in the northern Gulf Coast states, including parts of eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, central and southern Alabama and the western tip of Florida. EFE