Residents of New Orleans and other parts of Southeast Louisiana are preparing for the worst-case scenario as Hurricane Ida strengthened rapidly overnight into a strong Category 4 storm.

It’s now expected to be the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Louisiana coastline. Winds are currently clocking in at 150 mph, but forecasters believe by the time it hits shore, the winds will be around 155 mph. That raises the chances it could become a Category 5 storm (which is 157+ mph). The National Hurricane Center is warning “Extremely life-threatening storm surge and catastrophic wind damage are imminent where the core of Ida moves onshore in the next few hours.”

The storm is expected to make landfall around noon. Some areas are expected to see up to 20 inches of rain, with storm surge up to 15 feet. 

Officials believe the majority of people in the most vulnerable areas have evacuated. If people stayed, there are warnings out that it’s too late to leave.

This hurricane is hitting on the 16th anniversary of another monster storm, Katrina. While Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane as it churned in the Gulf of Mexico, it weakened to a Category 3 as it hit New Orleans. The AP writes:

Comparisons to the Aug. 29, 2005, landfall of Katrina weighed heavily on residents bracing for Ida. A Category 3 storm, Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths as it demolished oceanfront homes in Mississippi and caused levee breaches and catastrophic flooding in New Orleans.

Officials stressed that the levee and drainage systems protecting the city had been much improved since Katrina. But they cautioned flooding was still possible with up to 24 inches (61 centimeters) of rain forecast in some areas.

President Biden has approved emergency declarations for both Louisiana and Mississippi.

Watch coverage from the CBS affiliate in New Orleans above.