The New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals on Friday canceled their third and final preseason game slated for this weekend, as New Orleans braces for another major storm, 16 years after Hurricane Katrina.
“At the request of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, the NFL and the New Orleans Saints announced Friday, Aug. 27 that due to the impending impact of Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast region that the team’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals has been canceled,” a statement on the Saints’ website read.
Officials had announced earlier Friday that kickoff would simply move up to noon from its original Saturday primetime slot, but changed course as weather reports became bleaker.
The fourth hurricane to hit the state this year was near Cuba on Friday night, and expected to make U.S. landfall late Sunday night as a Category 4 storm. Much of the southeastern portion of Louisiana has been under a hurricane warning with Ida’s winds already reaching 80 miles per hour over central America, according to the National Weather Service.
“If Ida maintains a good inner core it will intensify quickly as it enters the Gulf,” NWS New Orleans tweeted. “DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THIS! If you are asked to evacuate, LEAVE or you’re putting your life in danger!”
The Saints also made calls for fans to take cover, encouraging “all residents of the region to take precautionary measures to remain safe throughout the impending hurricane.”
New Orleans’ stadium, newly dubbed the Caesars Superdome, acted as a temporary refuge for thousands in the wake of Katrina’s flooding in 2005 and has been a uniting symbol for the city ever since.