Hurricane Ida is scheduled to make landfall in southern Louisiana on Sunday night, with the chance that it could transform into a Category 4 hurricane. The Caesars Superdome was set to host Saturday's game between the Saints and Cardinals. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Saturday's preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals has been canceled due to the impending impact of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.
The Saints initially moved up the start time of the matchup from 7 p.m. to noon CDT, but the franchise opted to call off the game Friday because of the strengthening of the storm. Hurricane Ida is scheduled to make landfall in southern Louisiana on Sunday night, with the chance that it could transform into a Category 4 hurricane.
"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.
"This announcement comes after constant communication with City of New Orleans officials, the National Weather Service, Homeland Security, Governor [John Bel] 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."
League sources told ESPN that the Saints have made contingency plans to evacuate to Dallas on Saturday to avoid the hurricane. If necessary, the team will conduct practices in the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.
The Cardinals, who departed for New Orleans at about 4:15 p.m. EDT Friday, released a statement after the game was officially canceled that read: "Our team plane is being diverted back to Phoenix."
The Saints had to evacuate New Orleans for an entire season after Hurricane Katrina caused widespread damage in 2005. Last year, the team remained at home when Hurricane Zeta struck New Orleans in late October.