WATCH: Gov. Edwards says Ida will be similar in strength to Laura — “This is a very strong storm.”

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Gov. John Bel Edwards said that while direct comparisons between hurricanes are hard, he expects Hurricane Ida to be similar in strength to 2020’s Hurricane Laura at landfall.

Laura was already the state’s strongest-measured hurricane since 1856.

“Your window of time is closing. It is rapidly closing. By the time you go to bed tonight, you need to be where you intend to ride this storm out and you need to be as prepared as you can be,” said Edwards. He also said that by 8 a.m. Sunday morning, tropical storm-force winds will begin making their way onto shore. While landfall of the storm’s eye isn’t expected until around 7 p.m., Edwards noted that means that the northern half of the storm will already by on land by that time.

Sustained winds are expected to top out at around 140 mph, but Edwards said winds as high as 110 mph could reach as high as the Louisiana/Mississippi border and come from as far west as Lafayette. A storm surge of 10-15 feet is expected from Morgan City to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Rainfall totals are expected from 8 inches to 16 inches, with some areas possibly taking as much as 20 inches.

This afternoon, Edwards said the number of Louisiana National Guardsmen in place was around 400, though he said that number will swell to around 5,000 in the coming days. Around 10,000 electrical linemen are also stationed around the state with another 10,000 contracted on a needed basis.

Emergency shelters across the state began to open as of 6 a.m. this morning. Edwards said people should look for the shelter in their own parish first by contact emergency preparedness offices or by texting “LASHELTER” to 898-211.

He also noted that Sunday will be very fraught already for most Southeast Louisiana residents, as it’s the 16th anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

“But every storm is different. They all bring their own challenges,” said Edwards. “But I also want you to know that we’re not the same state that we were 16 years ago. We have a hurricane risk reduction system in place because of the generosity of the people of the United State of America that we didn’t have before.”

Outside of that system, Edwards said the state also has had “tremendous investments” in protection across south Louisiana with levees, gates, and pumps.

“Having said all that, this system is going to be tested,” said Edwards. “There’s no doubt. The people of Louisianans are going to be tested. But we are resilient and tough people, and we’re going to get through this.”

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