Hurricane Ida continued to lash Louisiana overnight, as the first death from the Category 2 storm was reported and an estimated 1 million-plus customers were left without power in the state.
The latest: President Biden approved Louisiana's disaster declaration late Sunday, enabling federal funding for parishes affected by the storm, which will go toward grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs.
Driving the news: Containment of the blaze dropped to 13% as it grew to over 168,000 acres Sunday amid extremely dry conditions. The wildfire razed at least four cabins near Echo Summit on Sunday, the Sacramento Bee notes.
Hurricane Ida lashed New Orleans Sunday evening on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — with part of the deadly Category 2 storm pummeling the city with extremely heavy winds and rains.
What's happening: Officials confirmed that the city had lost all power "due to catastrophic transmission damage" from the storm, with the only electricity in New Orleans coming from generators amid reports of flash flooding from Ida's rains.
National Weather Service meteorologists and others expressed fear and alarm Sunday at the "monster" Hurricane Ida became overnight as it churned toward Louisiana.
What they're saying: "As meteorologists at the National Weather Service Slidell office, we can't bear to see this on satellite," the NWS New Orleans tweeted Sunday morning. "We have hard times ahead, but we will all persevere. Take all messages we, public officials and broadcast media are saying SERIOUSLY. "
Hurricane Ida strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm and was "still intensifying," packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph with higher gusts as it neared Louisiana on Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.
Why it matters: Ida is expected to hit southeastern Louisiana as a Category 4 storm later Sunday. "Life-threatening storm surge, potentially catastrophic wind damage, and flooding" from its heavy rains "will impact" parts of the northern Gulf Coast, starting Sunday morning, the NHC said.
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.
With no time left to properly evacuate, New Orleans residents should prepare to ride out Hurricane Ida at home, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Friday.
Why it matters: The hurricane is forecast to hit the central Louisiana coast as a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm.
A dangerous scenario is taking shape across the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Ida, currently a Category 1 storm, is poised to intensify and hit coastal Louisiana on Sunday night or early Monday as a major hurricane of Category 4 intensity.
Driving the news: Ida made landfall on the Isle of Youth after rapidly strengthening over a span of several hours from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane Friday afternoon. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, with higher gusts, as it approached western Cuba.
Tropical Storm Ida formed Thursday afternoon over the Caribbean Sea and has the potential to become a powerful hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico and strike the northern Gulf Coast by Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The big picture: The Hurricane Center included unusually sobering wording for the first advisory on a storm, partly because the timing of landfall means there is only a few days for residents in the storm's potential path to prepare.
Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and fellow Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) from Colorado are urging President Biden to declare a drought disaster in the West.
Driving the news: The lawmakers wrote to Biden Wednesday, calling on his administration to support Western governors' Federal Emergency Management Agency drought disaster declaration request issued earlier this month, as they experience water cuts driven by rapidly depleting supplies.