Hurricane Ida expected to become Cat. 4 before reaching Louisiana
“In 25 years of TV broadcasting ... I have never presented a more worrisome tropical forecast for the WAFB area. Ida has the potential of being more troublesome than 2008′s Gustav, more problematic than 1992′s Andrew.”
Get your final hurricane preps completed ASAP!” - WAFB Chief Meteorologist Jay Grymes
4 a.m. UPDATE From the National Hurricane Center Saturday, Aug. 28:
Location: 24.0 N, 85.2 W
Max. Sustained Winds: 80 mph
Movement: Northwest at 16 mph
Minimum Central Pressure: 987mb
At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Ida was located near latitude 23.0 North, longitude 84.0 West. Ida is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h) and this general motion should continue until Ida reaches the northern Gulf coast on Sunday. A slower northward motion is forecast after Ida moves inland. On the forecast track, the center of Ida will move over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico during the next day or two and make landfall along the U.S. northern Gulf coast within the hurricane warning area by late Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, and Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast on Sunday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km). The estimated minimum central pressure based on data from the Air Force Hurricane Hunters is 989 mb (29.21 inches).
Ida is expected to be a ‘major’ hurricane at landfall on Sunday evening. The Category 4 hurricane is likely to be a fairly large storm by the time it reaches Louisiana. The entire WAFB area currently is under a Hurricane Watch which will is likely to be upgraded to a Hurricane Warning over the weekend.
The forecast for Ida has become more worrisome. Not only are we looking at a landfall by a large, major hurricane, but the latest forecast suggest that this will be a substantial rainmaker too. Add to the an evening arrival at the coast with a nighttime northward transit through the WAFB area. Tropical-storm force winds are likely to extend across the entire viewing area with hurricane-force winds anticipated for a large portion of the WAFB region. It could be Monday afternoon or evening before storm impacts significantly subside. Storm surge along the south Louisiana coast is currently forecast to run as high as 7-11 feet with the surge in the tidal lakes (Pontchartrain & Maurepas) potentially going as high as 3-6 feet. Add to that a forecast of widespread double-digit rainfall and you get a set-up for considerable area flooding. Be prepared for widespread, possibly prolonged power outages across the viewing area.
Ida could be reminiscent of the impacts experienced during 2008′s Gustav and 1992′s Andrew, but is likely to be a “wetter” hurricane than either of those were. While the worst impacts will be ending Monday, rain remains likely into the middle of the week.
On the current forecast track, tropical storm force winds are expected to impact the entire WAFB viewing area, with the worst of the winds likely extending from Sunday night into early afternoon on Monday. Hurricane force winds will be possible for areas closest to the track, with the 4 a.m. advisory showing a 25% chance of hurricane force winds in Baton Rouge.
The latest outlook from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center continues to show the potential for widespread 5″-15″ rains across much of SE Louisiana and SW Mississippi. Locally higher amounts will be possible and the highest totals will likely occur east of the center.
Peak storm surge values are currently forecast to reach 7 to 11 feet from Morgan City eastward to Ocean Springs, MS. Surge of 3 to 5 feet is forecast into Lake Pontchartrain, with 2 to 4 feet forecast for Lake Maurepas.
Now is the time for everyone in SE Louisiana and SW Mississippi make your hurricane preparations. The window to get anything done will close from south-to-north by late Saturday or early Sunday.
It is recommended that all preparations be completed by Saturday afternoon to be safe. And keep in mind that good rain chances are forecast both today and Saturday, meaning rain could impact any outdoor work.
Stay with WAFB and the First Alert Storm Team as we help get you through this very serious threat developing for our area this weekend.
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