WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ida strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane Saturday afternoon, posing a significant threat to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Center said at 5 p.m. that the storm is packing maximum sustained winds near 105 mph with higher gusts and moving toward the northwest near 16 mph.
The storm made landfall Friday afternoon on the Isle of Youth in Cuba, according to the NHC.
On the forecast track, the center of Ida will move over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico during the next day or two and make landfall along the U.S. northern Gulf coast within the hurricane warning area by late Sunday.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Cameron, Louisiana to west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana and the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border.
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Mobile Bay
Ida is now expected to strengthen into a Category 3 or 4 hurricane before landfall across coastal Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday.
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell urged Friday for everyone who lives or works outside the city's levee protection system to evacuate.
Forecasters said the storm poses life-threatening storm surge along the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Heavy rainfall is likely later Sunday into Monday across the central Gulf Coast from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi and Alabama.
South Florida's rain chances will remain 50 percent this weekend before dropping to 30 percent on Monday.