A strengthening hurricane headed toward New Orleans has resulted in the cancellation of a preseason contest.
The Saints' game against the Arizona Cardinals has been canceled, the team announced.
The Saturday affair had previously been moved up to 1 p.m. ET from its initial start time of 8 p.m. ET earlier Friday due to the most recent information gathered on the tropical storm, which reached hurricane status Friday.
Hurricane Ida reached the western coast of Cuba as a category one storm on Friday, bringing with it sustained winds reaching 80 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The increase in winds from 30 mph Thursday afternoon to more than 75 mph Friday afternoon indicates a rapidly intensifying storm, leading to hurricane warnings in Cuba and parts of Louisiana, as well as hurricane watches and evacuation orders in various northern Gulf Coast areas.
With New Orleans in the path of the hurricane -- which is expected to be at major hurricane strength, possibly even category four intensity when it makes landfall Sunday -- and storm surge warnings issued along the coast, the Saints decided to cancel the game "in the best interests of all personnel that may have been directly and indirectly affected by the storm."
"The team encourages all residents of the region to take precautionary measures to remain safe throughout the impending hurricane," the Saints said in a statement.
The Cardinals also released a statement shortly after regarding the cancelation and that their team plane was being "diverted back to Phoenix."