12:32PM August 27, 2021

IDA STRENGTHENS AND IS NOW A HURRICANE… Maximum sustained winds have increased to 75 mph, making Ida a hurricane. Ida is a bit stronger at this point in the forecast that initially thought. There is a real chance Ida becomes a powerful, category 4 tomorrow into Sunday ahead of a likely landfall point in Louisiana late on Sunday. Local impacts across south Alabama and northwest Florida are likely at times Sunday P.M. into Monday, as our area will be on the volatile, eastern side of the storm as it curves back to the north and ultimately northeast.

The following information from my post earlier this morning remains completely on track. I’ll have another detailed update posted this evening.

LOCAL IMPACTS DISCUSSION – HURRICANE IDA… While the center of Ida is expected to make landfall to our west, as of now, local impacts in south Alabama and northwest Florida will be possible Sunday P.M. into Monday as our area is expected to be on the eastern side of this landfalling hurricane. This means that all hurricane-related hazards will be possible across our region. Tornadoes will be possible across the entire area. In addition, high wind gusts may become possible, especially across coastal parts of Mobile and Baldwin counties. Storm surge and coastal flooding will be concerns across coastal Alabama. Dangerous rip currents and high waves are likely at ALL of our local beaches starting tomorrow (Saturday). Heavy rain and flash flooding will also be concerns, particularly across west Alabama, as 2 to 8 inches of total rainfall are expected.

OUR AREA WILL BE ON VOLATILE, EASTERN SIDE OF STORM… South Alabama and northwest Florida are currently forecast to be on the eastern side of this landfalling hurricane. This means that all tropical impacts, including tornadoes, will be possible Sunday P.M. into Monday. The greatest concern locally will likely end up being in coastal Alabama and west Alabama, the areas that will be closest to the track of Ida. This includes Baldwin, Mobile, Clarke, Washington, Choctaw, and Marengo counties. Impacts WILL happen farther to the east of those counties, but I expect the greatest amount of potential impacts to happen closer to the Alabama-Mississippi state line. Every, single one of us across our entire region MUST have a way to get urgent tornado warnings Sunday into Monday. Per our usual policy, we will “go live” across our platforms to bring you the latest information if/when tornado warnings are required for our local area.

IDA IS EXPECTED TO BE A MAJOR HURRICANE AT LANDFALL… Hurricane Ida is likely to be a significant hurricane on Sunday into Sunday evening ahead of the likely landfall of the system in Louisiana. This means that impacts from the system will be far-reaching from the center point of the storm. Please remember this when viewing any map with the “cone of uncertainty.” That cone is NOT designed to convey the magnitude of the impacts. The cone exists simply to highlight where the CENTER POINT of the storm may move. The actual storm itself WILL be much larger than the center point.

WIDESPREAD SWATH OF EXTENSIVE IMPACTS POSSIBLE IN LOUISIANA… Potentially extensive, significant impacts will be possible near and just east of where the center of Ida makes landfall. High winds, potentially in excess of 115 mph, will be possible. The Weather Prediction Center is currently forecasting 10-12″ of total rainfall due to Ida across a large swath of eastern Louisiana. Flooding and flash flooding will be concerns, in addition to the potential for a major storm surge event. 

HURRICANE WATCH TO OUR WEST; TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR AL COAST… A Hurricane Watch is currently in effect from Cameron, Louisiana eastward to the Mississippi/Alabama border. This includes Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Mobile and Baldwin counties in coastal Alabama. This means that tropical storm force (39+ mph) winds may be possible in parts of those two counties as Ida moves by. These watches will likely be changed to warnings later this morning or this afternoon at the latest.

MAJOR STORM SURGE NEAR WHERE IDA MAKES LANDFALL… A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Sabine Pass, Texas to the Alabama/Florida border. This includes Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, the Mississippi Sound, and Mobile Bay. Peak surge values of 3 to 5 feet are likely along the shores of Mobile Bay. A potentially significant, damaging storm surge of 7 to 11 feet is currently forecast from Ocean Springs, MS westward to Morgan City, LA. I am extremely concerned about the storm surge situation for parts of Louisiana. It cannot be stressed enough that folks in Louisiana in low-lying, storm surge-prone areas should evacuate ahead of this storm. Failure to do so could result in loss of life. Obviously language like that is something you never want to use in a weather discussion, but it is unfortunately the reality of the situation ahead.

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