Storm turns Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Gulf Coast: NPR

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A man cycles along the Mississippi River near the French Quarter as the sun rises and the early effects of Hurricane Ida are felt Sunday, August 29, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


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Eric Gay/AP

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Eric Gay/AP

Hurricane Ida is increasing to potentially catastrophic and life-threatening proportions as it reaches the Gulf Coast. Louisiana is under a state of emergency as the storm moves toward New Orleans, with an expected landfall Sunday afternoon.

Early Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center announced that Ida had been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 250 mph. In the 7 a.m. CT advisory, the center expressed a heightened sense of urgency about Ida and warned of “life-threatening” storm surges.

Just before 8 a.m. CT, reported the National Hurricane Center: that hurricane-force winds were felt on the southeast Louisiana coast as the storm moved within about 100 miles of New Orleans.

Ida’s expected arrival comes 16 years to the day Hurricane Katrina first made landfall in southern Louisiana — killing more than 1,800 and causing $125 billion in damage across the region.

Ida gets stronger and could become a Category 5 storm

Jamie Rhome, the acting deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, told NPR Ida could step up further as it approaches Louisiana. Should Ida reach sustained winds of 157 mph or more, it would be considered a Category 5 hurricane.