Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency due to the potential impacts and further development of Tropical Storm Ida. According to the National Hurricane Center, this system is forecast to approach the northern Gulf Coast at or near major hurricane intensity Sunday.
While there is some forecast uncertainty since the system is just forming, there is the potential for dangerous storm surge, damaging hurricane-force wind and heavy rainfall Sunday and Monday along the coast of Louisiana. A state of emergency is an administrative step that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in storm response efforts.
The Emergency Operations Center at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is activated, monitoring the potential storm, and coordinating with both FEMA and parish offices of emergency preparedness.
GOHSEP is urging all Louisianans to plan accordingly. Hurricane force winds of 110 miles per hour are currently forecasted. That is a strong Category 2 hurricane, and we should always prepare for a storm one category higher. Flash flooding from heavy rains can happen very quickly. While flooded roadways, flash flooding and storm surge are the immediate concerns, there is the potential for additional weather issues beginning as early as early Sunday morning with the arrival of tropical storm force winds.
“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. Now is the time for people to finalize their emergency game plan, which should take into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This type of threat contains additional problems because the window to prepare is so short. By Saturday evening, everyone should be in the location where they intend to ride out the storm. Monitor the local news and updates from the National Weather Service and your local leaders, check on your neighbors, include plans for your pets, and stay safe. This situation could result in major power outages and limited travel. Consider steps that may need to be taken to deal with those type issues. The people of Louisiana have been tested time and time again, and while it is my hope and prayer that this storm will not bring destruction to our state, we should be prepared to take the brunt of the severe weather.”
“The conditions over the next 48 hours will be critical,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “Right now we know conditions are primed for this system to strengthen. We also know the reality of this impact all too well. That means we all must remain aware of the potential of this severe weather threat, finalize your emergency plans and be ready to adjust those plans due any changes in the forecast or due to potential weather alerts being issued. If your plans involve using generators or other equipment, make sure you understand how to use those resources properly. Generators resulted in more fatalities than the actual 2020 storms. Please use caution.”
Remember to take certain steps to prepare for your family and pets. Check on friends, neighbors or family members that may struggle with their preparedness plans. People should be sure to pack masks and hand sanitizer if they evacuate and if multiple households are sheltering together, they should consider indoor masking to reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading. It is also not too late for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe, effective and widely available all across Louisiana.
If travel is in your plans, visit www.511.la.org for updates on road conditions. GOHSEP is closely monitoring this weather threat and stands ready to support our local partners and state agencies if help if needed.
For updates from the Governor’s Office, text the word ‘IDA’ to 67283.
Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Listen to conversations on all aspects of emergency management by downloading GOHSEP’s The Get A Game Plan Podcast. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new Alert FM App. It is free for basic service. The Get A Game Plan App is another resource available to help you and your family prepare for any type of emergency. You can download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.