(CNN)Hurricane Ida is beginning to move ashore and is set to make landfall early this afternoon likely tied as Louisiana’s most powerful storm ever.The current forecast calls for sustained winds of 150 mph when Ida hits on the 16th anniversary of the historically devastating Hurricane Katrina.That’s just 7 mph below the Category 5 ranking, and if Ida arrives at that level, it would be just the fifth to do so on the US mainland.Last year’s Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane of 1856 share the current record at 150 mph.Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday he expects Ida to be “a big challenge for us.”Edwards told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that his state “is as ready as we can be,” but he expects Ida to be “a very serious test of our levy systems, especially in our coastal Louisiana.”The state invested significantly in shoring up the levy system after the catastrophic fail after Katrina. Edwards said Ida “will be the most severe test,” but he expects the levees to hold. “The next 24, 36 hours are just going to be very, very critical for us here in Louisiana.”Ida became a Category 4 storm early Sunday morning, rapidly intensifying to sustained winds of 150 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
It was 50 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, NHC forecasters said in a 10 a.m. ET update, as the storm continued its march toward Louisiana and the Gulf Coast at 15 mph.
Outer bands from the storm are already making their way onshore across the Gulf Coast, impacting southeastern Louisiana, including New Orleans. An elevated weather station at Pilot’s Station East near Southwest Pass, Louisiana, recently reported a wind gust up to 107 mph, the NHC said.
Tropical storm Ida is gaining strength as it barrels through the Caribbean Sea and is expected to be a “dangerous major hurricane” when it slams into the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday (Aug. 29), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Friday morning (Aug. 27).
The NHC defines a major hurricane as a Category 3 or higher, meaning Ida could reach maximum sustained winds of 111 mph (178.6 km/h) or greater by the time it reaches the Louisiana coast; Ida would be the fourth hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season. As of now, the storm is projected to hit Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds around 115 mph (185 km/h), Buzzfeed News reported.
Assuming Ida follows its projected path, the storm could hit on the 16th anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans in 2005.