- Tropical Storm Ida is strengthening in the Caribbean Sea.
- Ida is expected to become a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.
- Interests along the northern Gulf Coast of the United States should now prepare for the hurricane.
Tropical Storm Ida is building up in the Caribbean Sea and is expected to hit the northern Gulf Coast of the United States as a major hurricane this weekend with a potentially fatal storm surge, dangerous rain flooding, potentially high winds. devastating and tornadoes.
The National Hurricane Center has just put parts of western Cuba on hurricane alert, including the Island of Youth and the provinces of Pinar del Rio and Artemisa.
Hurricane watch continues from Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi-Alabama state line, including the New Orleans metropolitan area. Hurricane watches are generally issued 48 hours before the expected arrival of tropical storm force winds, as these conditions make it difficult to prepare for a hurricane once they have started.
Storm surge monitoring is also in effect from the Texas-Louisiana border to the Alabama-Florida border, including Vermilion Bay, Borgne Lake, Pontchartrain Lake, Maurepas Lake, and the Bay from Mobile. This means that dangerous storm surge flooding is possible within the next 48 hours.
Finally, a tropical storm watch was issued near the Alabama coast where tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.
Interests near the Louisiana coast in Alabama should closely monitor Ida’s progress and prepare for the hurricane. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says there is a growing risk of hurricane-force winds, rain floods and potentially fatal storm surges on Sunday and Monday, especially in Louisiana.
Tropical Storm Ida is located in the western Caribbean Sea, approaching western Cuba, moving northwest.
Bands of heavy rain continue to flood parts of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba.
Thunderstorms continue to erupt near central Ida, usually a sign of a strengthening tropical cyclone.
Ida became the ninth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season late Thursday afternoon as it was located between Grand Cayman and Jamaica, based on measurements taken by a Hurricane Hunter mission of the US Air Force Reserve.
(MORE MAPS: Spaghetti models, precipitation forecasts, etc.)
Forecast intensity, monitoring
The NHC now expects Ida to become a hurricane as it flies over western Cuba on Friday night, prompting the upgrade to hurricane warnings there.
An area of high pressure over the southeastern United States will be the large-scale flywheel of the system, its clockwise circulation sending it northwestward toward a landing somewhere along the Louisiana or Mississippi coast Sunday afternoon or evening.
Ida could experience a period of rapid intensification in the form of a hurricane as it passes through the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. This is because the water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are very warm, the upper winds are expected to be favorable, and there is a lot of moist air available.
Therefore, Ida is currently expected to have major hurricane force, possibly even Category 4 intensity, as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday.
Ida could make landfall as a major hurricane on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi on August 29, 2005.
Four named storms, including three hurricanes (Laura, Delta and Zeta), made landfall in Louisiana in 2020.
Keep in mind that impacts will occur prior to any landing and that impacts could extend outside the forecast path shaded in red on the map above.
The NHC predicts that water levels will rise 4 to 6 feet above normal tides as Ida crosses western Cuba in areas where winds blow toward the shore.
Along the Gulf Coast, the following storm surge flooding is possible if the peak wave occurs at high tide.
-Morgan City, Louisiana to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, including Lake Borgne: 7 to 11 feet
-Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana to Morgan City, Louisiana including Vermilion Bay: 4 to 7 feet
-Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to the Mississippi-Alabama border: 4 to 7 feet
-Alabama coast including Mobile Bay: 3 to 5 feet
-Lac Pontchartrain: 4 to 6 feet
-Texas-Louisiana border to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana: 2 to 4 feet
This maximum surge will occur within an hour or two after Ida lands. However, coastal flooding could also occur in overland flow areas as early as Sunday morning, which could cut off evacuation routes from the coast.
The NHC also notes that exceeding local dikes outside of the hurricane and storm damage risk reduction system is possible when local flood values may be higher.
Tropical storm conditions could arrive along parts of the northern Gulf Coast as early as Saturday night, making hurricane preparations difficult.
The NHC said on Sunday that “potentially devastating wind damage could occur where Ida’s core moves toward the coast.”
Downed trees, widespread power outages and structural damage are possible in hurricane watch areas, possibly as early as Saturday night and through Sunday, including the New Orleans metro area.
At least tropical storm force winds are expected to hit interior areas of Louisiana and Mississippi through Monday.
(PERSPECTIVE: Beware of the storm “I”)
Bands of heavy rainfall of up to 20 inches could trigger flash floods and dangerous landslides in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba through Friday.
The NOAA Weather Forecast Center predicts the following precipitation totals:
-Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts: 8 to 16 inches with isolated totals of 20 inches through Monday
– South rest, central Mississippi: 4 to 8 inches
This will likely trigger widespread flash floods, especially when bands of rain stagnate for a period of a few hours. It will also lead to river flooding which could persist for several days after the storm.
At least one local flash flood threat will also penetrate inland into the Deep South and the Tennessee Valley on Monday and Tuesday.
High waves, rip currents
High surf and rip currents will affect the northern Gulf Coast from Saturday evening or early Sunday.
Isolated tornadoes are often a problem with tropical cyclones hitting land.
Certain rotating cells in Ida’s rain bands can cause tornadoes not only near the coast as it heads landward on Sunday, but also inland from Monday in the south through Tuesday.
As a reminder, tropical storm Fred generated 29 tornadoes from South to Northeast over a week ago.
Forecast changes are likely over the next few days, so check back with us on weather.com for important forecast updates.
Now is a good time to make sure you have a hurricane plan in case this system becomes a growing threat where you live.
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