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Motorists sit in traffic on I-10 West while evacuating ahead of Hurricane Ida in Metairie, Louisiana, on Saturday. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden and officials are calling on Gulf Coast residents to urgently finalize preparations for Hurricane Ida ahead of its expected landfall in Louisiana as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm on Sunday.

Driving the news: Thousands of residents had already left Saturday, as Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said at a news briefing that the "window of time" for hurricane preparation was "rapidly closing" as the weather would "deteriorate very quickly" Sunday.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Of note: President Biden has approved emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi to enable federal assistance and spoke with Gulf states governors Saturday, ahead of Ida's expected arrival on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed nearly 500 employees to Louisiana and Texas, and more than 2,000 staffers to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
  • The entire Louisiana National Guard, which includes about 5,000 members, has been deployed to respond to the storm, per The Advocate.

What they're saying: Biden said at a briefing with the FEMA on Saturday that officials had "prepositioned food, water, generators and other supplies" in the likely impacted region.

  • "Power restoration and mobile communications support teams are also en route," he added. "We've also closely coordinated with the electric utilities to restore power as soon as possible."
  • Edwards warned at his briefing, "This will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in Louisiana since at least the 1850s."

Flashback: Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a Category 4 storm in August last year.

What to expect: Hurricane Ida was gaining strength Saturday over the Gulf of Mexico and predicted to hit southeastern Louisiana.

  • The storm has the potential to cause significant damage from high winds, nearly 2 feet of rain and up to 15 feet of storm surge.
  • New Orleans is likely to experience hurricane-force winds and a storm surge.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.