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All New Orleans residents should leave now if they can, mayor says

"What I am told is that there is no way this storm will be weakening," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.

NEW ORLEANS — City leaders told all New Orleans residents to evacuate if they can Saturday shortly before noon in anticipation of the impacts of Hurricane Ida.

New Orleans and surrounding areas will be hit by Hurricane Ida, forecasted to make landfall late Sunday.

"What I am told is that there is no way this storm will be weakening," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. What we know is today — right now — everyone has to make a decision to leave voluntarily, which I am recommending... or stay on sight and hunker down  ... in a safe space."

Officials said those New Orleans residents who aren't leaving need to complete preparations before Sunday. 

"You need to prepare," Cantrell said. "Prepare for damaging wind, power outages, heavy rain, tornadoes. There are no signs that this sign is weakening, and there is always an opportunity for the storm to strengthen."

Officials told residents who are evacuating to do so as soon as possible.

"The city is focused on post-storm response," the mayor said. "We are paying close attention to residents on our special need registry. We know who they are."

New Orleans Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Collin Arnold told residents they will be alone during the first hours after the storm, urging them to take residents by midnight.

"The first 72 is on you," Arnold said.

The mayor told residents that they will have to rely on one another for help.

"We are all first responders. All of us are first responders," Cantrell said.