The New Orleans Saints canceled their final preseason game of the year on Saturday against the Arizona Cardinals due to Hurricane Ida, the team announced on Friday afternoon.
The storm, which was upgraded to a hurricane earlier on Friday, is expected to make landfall in Louisiana sometime on Sunday night or Monday morning.
“Due to the intensification of the hurricane throughout the day and after the most recent tropical update, the team's leadership has made the decision in the best interests of all personnel that may have been directly and indirectly affected by the storm,” the Saints said in a statement, in part. “This announcement comes after constant communications with City of New Orleans officials, the National Weather Service, Homeland Security, Governor Edwards and leading state officials and the National Football League. The team encourages all residents of the region to take precautionary measures to remain safe throughout the impending hurricane.”
The game had already been rescheduled from a 7 p.m. kickoff to noon due to the storm.
The Cardinals were in the air on their way to New Orleans when the decision was made, and diverted its plane back to Phoenix.
Due to the impending impact of Hurricane Ida, our preseason game in New Orleans has been canceled.
Our team plane is being diverted back to Phoenix.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 27, 2021
The Saints are planning to fly to Dallas on Saturday to evacuate the New Orleans area before the storm hits, according to NOLA.com’s Amie Just. The team will practice at AT&T Stadium through at least Wednesday.
When will Hurricane Ida hit?
Ida is the ninth named storm of the hurricane season.
The storm formed Thursday in the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a hurricane on Friday afternoon. Officials project that the storm could be a Category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall south of New Orleans, and could bring storm surges of more than 10 feet to parts of the Louisiana coastline.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced mandatory evacuations for part of the city on Friday, too.
Being on the east side of the storm track, we’re anticipating significant impacts‼️
We are calling for a mandatory evacuation for areas outside the levee system, including Lake Catherine, Irish Bayou, & Venetian Isles.
Residents in those areas must evacuate by Saturday AM.
— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) August 27, 2021
The Saints are set to play next on Sept. 12, when they’ll host the Green Bay Packers for their season opener. The Cardinals will open that same day in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans.