NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell wants everyone who lives or works outside the city's levee protection system to evacuate.
In a Friday news conference, Mayor Cantrell also called for a voluntary evacuation for anyone inside the levee protection system.
"Now is the time to start," Cantrell said.
Forecasters say Ida could be a major Category 3 hurricane with top winds of 120 mph when it nears the U.S. coast.
The National Hurricane Center says Ida is already rapidly intensifying and could speed across warm Gulf waters and slam into Louisiana on Sunday after hitting Cuba on Friday.
According to the National Weather Service, Ida has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane approaching the Isle of Youth, Cuba, with 75 mph winds being indicated.
"Hurricane Ida is likely to produce heavy rainfall later Sunday into Monday, resulting in considerable coastal and inland flash, urban, small stream, and river flooding," the NWS said in a tweet on Friday.
Category 3 hurricanes can cause devastating damage.
Climate scientist Jim Kossin says it's headed straight towards New Orleans.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared an emergency for all of Louisiana.
On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday is also the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina made landfall off the coast of Louisiana on August 29, 2005, killing an estimated 1,200 people.