Ida strengthens into a Category 1 hurricane as it nears Cuba Friday afternoon
Landfall along Louisiana Coast likely Sunday
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Hurricane Hunters have found that Ida has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Friday afternoon as the system approaches Cuba.
Once in the Gulf of Mexico, the system is expected to strengthen to category 3 hurricane status by Sunday as it moves over deep, warm mid-to-upper 80° water. A Hurricane Watch has been issued from Cameron, Louisiana east to the Mississippi / Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and New Orleans.
As of the 12:15pm update from the National Hurricane Center:
|Location||Maximum Sustained Wind||Movement||Minimum Pressure|
|30 miles ESE of The Isle of Youth||75 mph||NW at 15 mph||987 mb|
Rainfall amounts could pile as high as 20″ in localized areas of the Cayman Islands before dumping the same over Western Cuba. Rainfall amounts of 8″ to 12″, with localized 15″ - 16″+ are expected to fall over portions of Southern Louisiana, including the New Orleans metro area.
Hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane watch area as early as late Saturday night or early Sunday.
Hurricane hunters are scheduled for another run into the system Friday, after finding a somewhat disorganized system on Thursday. According to the National Hurricane Center, “this feature should keep Ida moving on a general northwestward track for the next 2 or 3 days, taking the core of the system over western Cuba Friday afternoon or evening and then across the southern and central Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Although some model timing differences remain, they are in fairly good agreement that Ida will make landfall in Louisiana late Sunday or early Monday.”
While some upper-level winds were battering Ida Thursday night, they are expected to relax late Friday through the weekend. This, along with the very warm Gulf water temperature, is the reason for the quick intensification leading up to landfall. There continues to be “higher-than-normal confidence” that a significant hurricane will be approaching the Gulf coast late this weekend.
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