NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The big question we keep hearing from people is “when will it get really bad in New Orleans?” According to WGNO Meteorologist Scot Pilie, you can expect that to happen in the afternoon hours of Sunday.

“Treat this like a long duration tornado warning,” Pilie said. “Hunker down. Lowest level of your home, away from windows.”

WGNO Chief Meteorologist Hank Allen says conditions may continue to deteriorate through about 8 p.m. Sunday.

Ida has blasted ashore along the Louisiana coast as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., rushing toward New Orleans and one of the nation’s most important industrial corridors.

The powerful Category 4 storm hit Sunday with winds of 150 mph (230 kph). It was the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier.  

The hurricane was churning through the far southern Louisiana wetlands, with more than 2 million people who live in and around New Orleans and Baton Rouge up next.

New Orleans officials say the levees that failed and caused catastrophic flooding in Katrina have been significantly strengthened the past 16 years.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)