Tropical Storm Ida caused flooding in Jamaica and Cuba and is on its way to the United States

Tropical Storm Ida is gaining strength, turning into a hurricane; it is now approaching the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana. On Friday, Ida caused heavy rains and flooding in parts of Jamaica and also affected Cuba. It is expected to reach landfall in the U.S. with strong hurricane potential.

The streets of the capital Havana were deserted as residents closed their homes before the arrival of Ida.

Jamaica was flooded due to heavy rain and there were landslides after the hurricane passed. Several roads were closed, forcing some people to leave their homes.

“Ida” is the ninth named storm and the fourth hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. It may have surpassed Hurricane Laura, the last category four hurricane to hit Louisiana. But it still compares to Katrina, the Category 5 hurricane that devastated the region in August 2005, killing more than 1,800 people.

Ida’s wind speeds reached 80 miles per hour (129 kph) late Friday, according to the National Weather Service, which expects the storm to strengthen significantly before turning into a major hurricane in southeast Louisiana on Sunday.

U.S. coastal authorities preparing for the storm urged residents to get ships out of ports and encouraged early evacuations.

Ida is forecast to hit the U.S. as a strong Category 4 storm on the five-stage Sapphire-Simpson scale. It is expected to generate sustained winds of about 140 kilometers per hour, heavy rain and tidal forces that expect much of the Louisiana coast to be several feet below the water level.

Forecasters said high surf caused by hurricane-force winds – could reach 10 to 15 feet near the mouth of the Mississippi River, with deeper levels continuing eastward along the adjacent Mississippi and Alabama coasts, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tornadoes, widespread power outages and inland flooding are also expected to intensify.

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