Watch: TS Ida Plows Through Caribbean, Could Become Major Hurricane

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Tropical Storm Ida intensified arsenic it swirled toward a onslaught connected Cuba connected Friday, showing hallmarks of a rare, rapidly intensifying tempest that could velocity crossed lukewarm Gulf waters and slam into Louisiana arsenic a large hurricane connected Sunday, the National Hurricane Center warned.

"The forecast way has it headed consecutive towards New Orleans. Not good," said NOAA's Jim Kossin, a clime and hurricane scientist.

Ida posed a comparatively debased menace to tobacco-rich occidental Cuba, wherever forecasters predicted a glancing stroke connected Friday. The existent information begins implicit the Gulf, wherever forecasts were aligned successful predicting Ida volition fortify precise rapidly into a large hurricane earlier landfall successful the country of the Mississippi River delta precocious Sunday oregon aboriginal Monday, experts said.

"Ida surely has the imaginable to beryllium precise bad," said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher astatine the University of Miami. "It volition beryllium moving quickly, truthful the trek crossed the Gulf from Cuba to Louisiana volition lone instrumentality 1.5 days."

Friday morning, Ida's maximum sustained winds swiftly roseate from 45 mph to 60 mph arsenic it moved distant from Grand Cayman toward Cuba's Isle of Youth astatine astir 15 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extended arsenic acold arsenic 80 miles from the center.

A hurricane ticker for New Orleans and an exigency declaration for the authorities of Louisiana were declared.

"Unfortunately, each of Louisiana's coastline is presently successful the forecast cone for Tropical Storm Ida, which is strengthening and could travel ashore successful Louisiana arsenic a large hurricane arsenic Gulf conditions are conducive for accelerated intensification," said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

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"By Saturday evening, everyone should beryllium successful the determination wherever they mean to thrust retired the storm," the politician added.

A hurricane ticker was successful effect from Cameron, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama borderline -- including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans.

Dangerous tempest surge was besides imaginable on the Gulf Coast. If it pushes a tempest surge astatine precocious tide, Ida could overlap immoderate levees, with 7 to 11 feet of h2o predicted from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

"There is an expanding hazard of life-threatening tempest surge, damaging hurricane-force winds, and dense rainfall Sunday and Monday, particularly on the seashore of Louisiana," the hurricane halfway said.

The politician of Grand Isle, a Louisiana municipality connected a constrictive obstruction land successful the Gulf, said a voluntary evacuation precocious Thursday would go mandatory connected Friday.

The tempest was forecast to driblet up to 20 inches of rainfall implicit occidental Cuba, wherever deadly flash floods and mudslides were possible. By the clip it reaches the cardinal Gulf Coast Sunday afternoon, it could dump 8 to 16 inches of rain, with 20 inches successful isolated areas, from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi and Alabama done Monday morning. More dense rains are apt crossed Mississippi erstwhile Ida moves inland, causing "considerable flash, urban, tiny stream, and riverine flooding," the hurricane halfway said.

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