Louisiana braces for approaching Ida

The US state of Louisiana is bracing for approaching hurricane Ida as Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, calling for residents to evacuate.

US weather officials say that Ida is moving northwest over the Gulf of Mexico. It could intensify and make landfall in or near Louisiana on Sunday afternoon local time as a Category 4 storm on the five-step scale.

Forecasters warn that strong winds, heavy rains and a storm surge could cause extensive damages.

US President Joe Biden on Saturday urged people in the area "to pay attention and be prepared."

Sunday marks the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which caused devastation in the same area particularly to the city of New Orleans. More than 1,800 people died.

Weather officials say that Ida could be more intense than Katrina at the time of the landfall.