NEW ORLEANS, Aug 28 — More than 10,000 people have been evacuated in the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio over Hurricane Ida as it struck Cuba on Friday and threatened to slam into Louisiana with devastating force over the weekend, prompting evacuations in New Orleans and across the coastal region.
Ida intensified rapidly Friday from a tropical storm to a hurricane with top winds of 128 kph as it crossed western Cuba and entered the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Ida would strengthen into an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, with top winds of 140 mph (225 kph) before making landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast late Sunday
The total number of evacuees stands at 10,471: 9,595 are sheltered in residential houses and 876 in evacuation facilities, Sputnik quoted the local media, Juventud Rebelde news outlet reported on late Friday.
The hurricane has already hit the island of Isla de la Juventud. The scale of the sustained damage has not been calculated yet, there are no reports about any victims.
A hurricane warning was issued for most of the Louisiana coast from Intracoastal City to the mouth of the Pearl River. A tropical storm warning was extended to the Mississippi-Alabama line.
The US National Hurricane Centre has registered Ida’s maximum sustained gusts of 75 mph on Friday afternoon.