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Hurricane Ida hits Louisiana, Biden urges residents to take the storm very seriously

Christian Fernsby |
Hurricane Ida slammed into Louisiana's coast near Port Fourchon earlier today as a Category 4 storm.

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Landfall is when the eye is halfway over the coast.

Extreme winds and surge will accompany the 1 p.m. ET landfall over the next several hours. A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. ET for parts of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Quick tornadoes will be possible throughout today. There is also a danger of life-threatening storm surge Sunday in areas along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

More than 285,000 customers are without power in Louisiana so far. Meanwhile, Airlines canceled all flights arriving to and leaving from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Sunday, the airport said. And Tulane University in New Orleans is closed Sunday and Monday, less than a week after students returned to campus.

The hurricane is expected to travel northward through Louisiana today, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. It will curve eastward as it keeps traveling north through Mississippi tomorrow.

President Biden urged residents to listen to officials and stay safe as Hurricane Ida lashes Louisiana's coast.

"The storm is a life-threatening storm. ... And its devastation is likely to be immense.

"We shouldn't kid ourselves.

"And so the most important thing I can say right now is that everyone, everyone should listen to the instructions from local and state officials, just how dangerous this is. And take it seriously. It's not just the coasts. It's not just New Orleans. It's north as well. The rainfall is expected to be exceedingly high," Biden said while getting a briefing on the storm at Federal Emergency Management Agency offices.

Biden pledged to put "the country's full might" behind rescue and recovery efforts.

"We're going to be here. We're going to be here to help the Gulf region get back on its feet as quickly as possible, as long as it takes," he said.

"We should be prepared that it can take a long time no matter how much we've prepositioned — which we have — that is going to take a long time for a lot of them to get back up. It could take a matter of weeks for some places," the President said.

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