Ida quickly became a hurricane on Friday afternoon as it swirled over the warm waters of the Western Caribbean Sea. The hurricane will move over Cuba on Friday before entering the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Ida will pose a major threat to the northern Gulf coast this weekend, with forecasters warning of a “potential disaster in the making”. Ida is also not the only system we observe. More information on the brewing activity in the Atlantic, below.
HURRICANE IDA STRENGTHENS IN THE NORTHWEST CARABESE SEA
Ida took advantage of a favorable environment to quickly turn into a hurricane on Friday afternoon.
According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, maximum sustained winds from Hurricane Ida are now 120 km / h, with higher gusts.
The storm made landfall on the Isle of Youth early Friday afternoon. The system is on course to make landfall later Friday over the western tip of Cuba.
From there, the storm will likely intensify rapidly as it winds its way over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The NHC warns that the storm could be a major hurricane as it nears land.
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The system is on the way to make landfall in Louisiana on Sunday. Strong winds from the storm, storm surges, torrential rains and tornadoes will have a wide reach that will affect communities far from the landing point.
SEVERAL FACTORS COULD MAKE IDA EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
“This is a potential disaster in the making for the Gulf of Mexico,” said Tyler Hamilton, meteorologist at The Weather Network. “It’s the worst case scenario to get a hurricane that intensifies as the Gulf states approach,” Hamilton added.
The northern Gulf Coast is a vulnerable location for a powerful hurricane to make landfall. The region has a long history of major hurricanes, including Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005.
One of the biggest threats of any storm to hit this region is storm surge.
Storm surge is seawater pushed inland by the strong and persistent winds of a tropical system. This type of flood poses a significant threat to life and property whenever a hurricane makes landfall.
The relief of the Gulf Coast makes this region extremely sensitive to storm surges.
For example, much of the Louisiana coastline consists of flat swamps, marshes, and beaches. This terrain offers little resistance to a storm surge, allowing seawater to push several kilometers inland from the coast.
The forecast track of the storm is of particular concern for New Orleans, Louisiana. The majority of neighborhoods reside there at or below sea level, leaving the city prone to flooding from both storm surges and heavy rains.
Hurricane Ida is about to hit the northern Gulf Coast at a sensitive time. Sunday marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina passing through Louisiana and Mississippi. Flooding and the aftermath of the historic storm killed more than 1,800 people in the region, leaving an indelible mark on the people of the region.
To make matters worse, the southern United States is in the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases. Hundreds of thousands of new cases have been reported in the region in recent weeks.
Many hospitals in southern states are overwhelmed by the influx of coronavirus patients. The New York Times reported last week that there were no more intensive care beds across the state of Alabama on August 18, reflecting the dire situation in that part of the United States. This storm and its potential consequences could further stretch medical personnel and resources. to their limits.
TWO OTHER DISTURBANCES IN THE ATLANTIC TO WATCH OUT FOR
Ida is not the only system in the Atlantic Ocean at this time. There are two other disturbances in the open water that each have a high chance of developing, according to the NHC’s tropical weather forecast on Friday morning.
A disturbance about 1000 km east of Bermuda has an “average” chance of developing into a tropical depression this weekend as it heads northeast into open water.
Another disturbance, located roughly halfway between the Cabo Verde Islands and the Leeward Islands, also has a ‘high’ chance of organizing into a tropical depression this weekend as it roams in open water in the central Atlantic Ocean.
Neither disturbance in the Atlantic will affect land in the coming days.
After Ida, the next names on this year’s list for the Atlantic Basin are Julian and Kate.
We are rapidly approaching the climatic peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. The season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, with a peak of activity during the second week of September.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest news from the tropics.