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Hurricane Ida batters Cuba as it heads for Louisiana where it’s expected to hit as Category 4 storm

Hurricane Ida battered Cuba on Friday before it started to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico in a beeline toward Louisiana, where it’s expected to hit as a Category 4 storm on the anniversary of deadly Hurricane Katrina.

The storm hit Cuba with roof-ripping force and sustained winds of up to 80 miles per hour on Friday, prompting evacuations of flood-prone New Orleans neighborhoods and oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Ida first hit Cuba’s small Isle of Youth, off the southwestern end of the Caribbean island nation, toppling trees and tearing roofs from buildings soon after it was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane. 

The storm made its way towards the province of Pinar del Rio on mainland Cuba where more than 10,000 people had been evacuated and the electricity was cut off before it hit as a precaution. 

An old American car rides under the rain in Havana on Friday as Hurricane Ida passes through eastern Cuba

A man, using a piece of plastic against protection of the rain caused by Hurricane Ida, rides his horse on a road leading to Batabano, in the Mayabeque province of Cuba on Friday

A man, using a piece of plastic against protection of the rain caused by Hurricane Ida, rides his horse on a road leading to Batabano, in the Mayabeque province of Cuba on Friday

A utility pole bends from winds caused by Hurricane Ida on a road leading to Batabano, in the Mayabeque province of Cuba on Friday

A utility pole bends from winds caused by Hurricane Ida on a road leading to Batabano, in the Mayabeque province of Cuba on Friday

The coast of Batabano in eastern Cuba is seen on Friday as Hurricane Ida passed through

The coast of Batabano in eastern Cuba is seen on Friday as Hurricane Ida passed through

Hurricane Ida battered Cuba on Friday before it started to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico in a beeline toward Louisiana, where it's expected to hit as a Category 4 storm

Hurricane Ida battered Cuba on Friday before it started to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico in a beeline toward Louisiana, where it’s expected to hit as a Category 4 storm

Shoppers at Home Depot in New Orleans are seen getting plywood, gas tanks, umbrellas and buckets ahead of Hurricane Ida on Friday

Shoppers at Home Depot in New Orleans are seen getting plywood, gas tanks, umbrellas and buckets ahead of Hurricane Ida on Friday

Slim pickings at the Walmart on Tchoupitolas in New Orleans, Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida. Breads, meats, snacks, canned meats, cases of water, chips and fans are in short supply

Slim pickings at the Walmart on Tchoupitolas in New Orleans, Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida. Breads, meats, snacks, canned meats, cases of water, chips and fans are in short supply 

There were no deaths or major reports of damage as of Friday night.

The streets of Havana, the capital, had been emptied as residents shuttered themselves at home ahead of Ida’s arrival. Public transport was suspended by midday. 

The Cuban government issued a hurricane warning for its westernmost provinces, where forecasters said as much as 20 inches of rain could fall in places, possibly unleashing deadly flash floods and mudslides. 

Government forecasters had also warned that the storm could bring surges to Cuba’s western coastline. 

Ivonne Deulofeu, who lives in the western town of Vinales, said strong winds persisted for hours on Friday.

‘It shook us up hard. It was really frightening. We had to nail the doors of the rooms,’ Deulofeu said. ‘The plants, they´re all gone.’

Jamaica was also flooded by heavy rains, and there were landslides after the passage of the storm. Many roads were impassable, forcing some residents to abandon their homes.

The storm was 105 miles west of Havana and traveling northwest at 15 mph by late Friday night.

A man is seen loading boards on a truck to board up a home or business on Friday

A man is seen loading boards on a truck to board up a home or business on Friday

Residents of New Orleans are bracing for Hurricane Ida near the anniversary of deadly Hurricane Katrina

Residents of New Orleans are bracing for Hurricane Ida near the anniversary of deadly Hurricane Katrina

Jennifer Tate fuels up a gas can next to bottled water an other supplies as she prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Ida in Pass Christian, Mississippi on Friday

Jennifer Tate fuels up a gas can next to bottled water an other supplies as she prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Ida in Pass Christian, Mississippi on Friday

Shelves are seen low on stack at a Walmart on Tchoupitolas in New Orleans, Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida on Friday. Breads, meats, snacks, canned meats, cases of water, chips and fans are in short supply

Shelves are seen low on stack at a Walmart on Tchoupitolas in New Orleans, Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida on Friday. Breads, meats, snacks, canned meats, cases of water, chips and fans are in short supply

Hurricane Ida batters Cuba as it heads for Louisiana where it's expected to hit as Category 4 storm

Hurricane Ida batters Cuba as it heads for Louisiana where it's expected to hit as Category 4 storm

Shoppers at Costco in New Orleans stock up on supplies ahead of Hurricane Ida

Lines at gas stations are flowing into the streets and an Exxon in New Orleans has already closed its pumps because it is out of gas on Friday

Lines at gas stations are flowing into the streets and an Exxon in New Orleans has already closed its pumps because it is out of gas on Friday

The entrance to the Pontchartrain Causeway displays a high winds warning ahead of Hurricane Ida's landfall on Friday

The entrance to the Pontchartrain Causeway displays a high winds warning ahead of Hurricane Ida’s landfall on Friday

The National Weather Service said it expects Hurricane Ida to intensify significantly before coming ashore as a major hurricane in southeastern Louisiana on Sunday afternoon or evening.

Louisiana declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm and officials have already ordered mandatory evacuations outside the levee-protected areas of New Orleans and flood-prone coastal towns on the state’s coast such as Grand Isle.

A voluntary evacuation for residents inside the levee system. Since the storm quickly escalated in intensity, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said it wasn’t possible to order a mandatory evacuation for the entire city.

Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 when it made landfall southwest of New Orleans 16 years ago on the exact date Hurricane Ida is expected to make landfall.  

‘People are packing and leaving right now,’ Scooter Resweber, police chief in Grand Isle nola.com. ‘We know this is going to be a big one.’

The weather channel estimated that wind speeds will reach 130mph by early Sunday morning as it nears Louisiana

The weather channel estimated that wind speeds will reach 130mph by early Sunday morning as it nears Louisiana

Louisiana declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm

Louisiana declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm

As the storm plowed into Cuba on Friday night, the NWS issued a slurry of alarming tweets warning that Hurricane Ida shows 'no signs on weakening.'

As the storm plowed into Cuba on Friday night, the NWS issued a slurry of alarming tweets warning that Hurricane Ida shows ‘no signs on weakening.’

Officials have already ordered mandatory evacuations outside the levee-protected areas of New Orleans and flood-prone coastal towns on the state's coast such as Grand Isle

Officials have already ordered mandatory evacuations outside the levee-protected areas of New Orleans and flood-prone coastal towns on the state’s coast such as Grand Isle

As the storm plowed into Cuba on Friday night, the NWS issued a slurry of alarming tweets warning that Hurricane Ida shows ‘no signs on weakening.’ 

‘If Ida maintains a good inner core it will intensify quickly as it enters the Gulf. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THIS! If you are asked to evacuate, LEAVE or you’re putting your life in danger!’ the NWS asserted. 

In another tweet, the NWS wrote: ‘The time to act is NOW. Hurricane Ida is now forecast to make landfall as a category 4 hurricane. This will bring SIGNIFICANT impacts to Southern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. No major changes to the track at this time, moved just a touch to the east.’

‘Along with the change to a Category 4 landfall we also now have upgraded to a Hurricane WARNING for parts of southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Damaging winds are expected with Ida and could reach the coast by Saturday night.’

The agency said that a storm surge warning is also now in effect for the likelihood of life-threatening storm surge in some areas of southeaster Louisiana and coastal Mississippi – while a storm surge watch is in effect for the potential of life-threatening storm surge for outer areas.

Shelves were seen low on stock at a Walmart on Tchoupitolas in New Orleans, Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida on Friday. Breads, meats, snacks, canned meats, cases of water, chips and fans are in short supply. 

Shoppers at Costco in New Orleans stocked up on supplies like bottles of water and toilet paper ahead of Hurricane Ida. Lines at gas stations flowed into the streets and an Exxon in New Orleans has already closed its pumps because it is out of gas.

City officials said residents need to be prepared for prolonged power outages, and asked elderly residents to consider evacuating. Collin Arnold, the city’s emergency management director, said the city could be under high winds for about ten hours. 

Terrebonne Parish officials also told everyone to evacuate, WWL-TV reported.

‘If you can leave on your own, please leave on your own,’ Parish President Gordon Dove said. ‘We are the bullseye by every indication, of everything we have found.’

Heavy rainfall and flooding have already began to affect Mississippi ahead of Ida’s suspected landfall. 

President Joe Biden approved a federal emergency declaration for Louisiana ahead of the storm. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said FEMA plans to send nearly 150 medical personnel and almost 50 ambulances to the Gulf Coast to assist strained hospitals. 

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