Ida has been upgraded to a hurricane with winds of 75 mph. This is a key item of note since it means the core will likely be maintained over Cuba and that will allow for rapid intensification in the Gulf. Landfall timing has slowed to Sunday night around 7PM, allowing a bit more time in the Gulf for possible rapid intensification. Prepare for one category higher than our current landfall forecast.
The latest update from the National Hurricane Center Friday afternoon has Ida making landfall as a category 3 storm winds of 120 mph. This certainly looks reasonable based on a lot of the forecast models, which actually have the storm even stronger than that. It will be a key to see how well the core holds together as it moves over Cuba, but rapid intensification is possible as it moves through the Gulf.
We should expect significant impacts from this storm in our area. However, this does not look like a worst case scenario. The good news in terms of storm surge is that the system will not have a bunch of time over the water to build up levels. This will prevent us from likely seeing catastrophic storm surge. Right now most of the coast is forecast at 7-11 feet, which means flooding likely outside the levee system.
One of the other big issues with Ida will be the heavy rain. Look for a potential of 10-15 inches across the area with isolated higher amounts possible. Wind speeds will be gusting into the 80s and 90s as this storm moves through. That combined with heavy rain amounts means power outages will be likely. If you are staying home you should prepare for several days if not more than a week without power. Prepare for several days without power in August heat if you are staying to ride this out. If you are not interested in spending 6-10+ days without power and can leave, evacuate to Houston or further west and east of Pensacola for minimal impacts.
Isolated tornadoes will be possible east of the center as well, especially farther east.
You need to prepare Friday and Saturday before weather conditions start deteriorating early Sunday morning. Make your preparations now and be ready for significant impacts to the local area. Hurricane Watches are up for WGNO’s viewing area and Louisiana’s whole coastline.
Right now, mandatory evacuations are in place for coastal areas including Grand Isle, Lafitte, Lower Lafitte, Barataria, and Crown Point. St. Charles is issuing a mandatory evacuation, as well. We have more information on WGNO News at 5PM, 6PM, and 10PM tonight.