‘Time is not on our side,’ New Orleans mayor warns.

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‘Time is not on our side,’ New Orleans mayor warns.

Vehicles head slowly east on the Interstate-10 twin spans leaving New Orleans while only a trickle of cars heads west back into the city ahead of Hurricane Ida’s landfall.Credit…Matthew Hinton, via Associated Press

By Chelsea Brasted

Aug. 28, 2021, 1:52 p.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS — With tracking maps for Hurricane Ida consistently showing an expected pathway toward southeast Louisiana, Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans issued a stern warning on Saturday that city residents who intend to leave should do so immediately.

“In no way will this storm be weakening, and there’s always an opportunity for the storm to strengthen,” Ms. Cantrell said at a news briefing. “Time is not on our side. It’s rapidly growing, it’s intensifying.”

City officials are asking that residents who plan to stay in the city prepare for extended power outages, limited emergency services and several days of high temperatures after the storm passes.

“The first 72 is on you,” said Collin Arnold, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “The first three days of this will be difficult for responders to get to you.”

Forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Ida will be a Category 4 storm upon landfall on Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 dead.

“What we learned during Hurricane Katrina is we are all first-responders,” Mr. Cantrell said. “It’s about taking care of one another.”

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