8:32PM August 27, 2021

HURRICANE IDA TO RAPIDLY STRENGTHEN INTO CAT. 4 HURRICANE THIS WEEKEND… Hurricane Ida has made landfall along the western part of Cuba this evening. The storm is forecast to strengthen into a powerful, category 4 hurricane this weekend while over the Gulf of Mexico. Maximum winds are currently forecast to be around 140 mph at the time of landfall late Sunday or early Monday when the center of the storm moves onshore in Louisiana. Impacts will extend well out from the center of the storm. Local impacts in south Alabama and northwest Florida will be possible from Sunday evening to Monday evening as Ida is expected to slow down a bit just after landfall. I’ve got all the details for you in this special Friday evening LIVE video update.

The following information from my previous post remains on target.

LOCAL IMPACTS ASSESSMENT – HURRICANE IDA… The main impacts from Hurricane Ida in southwest Alabama and northwest Florida will happen from Sunday evening through Monday evening. Please remember that tornadoes and other impacts will be possible in our local area long after the center of the hurricane makes landfall in Louisiana as Ida is expected to turn north and ultimately northeast after landfall. Local impacts are detailed below:

– Heavy rain at times that could lead to flash flooding. The greatest chance of flash flooding will happen near the Alabama coast and over west Alabama.

– Wind gusts of 30-50 mph near the Alabama coast with breezy conditions (15-35 mph wind gusts) inland and across northwest Florida.

– Tornadoes will be possible across the region Sunday evening, Sunday night, and into Monday. Please have a way to get urgent weather warnings!

– Storm surge in Mobile Bay is currently expected to be in the 2-4 feet range. Storm surge near Dauphin Island and the Mississippi Sound of 4-7 feet may be possible. The more dangerous 7+ feet storm surge will likely happen to our west across parts of Mississippi and Louisiana.

– All coastal hazards, including dangerous rip currents, high waves, and even minor coastal flooding will be possible locally.

COULD THE PROJECTED PATH FOR IDA SHIFT EAST? That has been a question I’ve been asked numerous times today and rightfully so after the whiplash we had with the cone of uncertainty with Tropical Storm Fred a few weeks ago. Unlike Fred, however, this is a totally different setup with much less uncertainty at this point. There is a very, very high chance that the center of Hurricane Ida will make landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi. Landfall probabilities for Texas, Alabama, and Florida are now exceedingly low. The upper-level ridge of high pressure currently in place over the Carolinas will almost certainly steer powerful Ida into Louisiana.

COULD IDA BECOME A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE? Yes, but that is a technicality and something we all shouldn’t get too hung up on. Why? Because whether a hurricane is a high-end, cat. 3, cat. 4, or cat. 5 storm really doesn’t make that much difference. ALL of those categories produce life-threatening IMPACTS. The storm surge and wind damage in parts of eastern Louisiana could potentially be catastrophic, the likes of which have not been seen in that part of Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina or prior. Please don’t get so fixated on the category that you forget about the key points: THIS IS A MAJOR, POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC STORM FOR EASTERN LOUISIANA, regardless of the category at landfall.

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.

HURRICANE WARNING FOR PARTS OF LOUISIANA… A Hurricane Warning has been issued for the coast of Louisiana from Intracoastal City to the Mouth of the Pearl River, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans.

HURRICANE WATCH & TROPICAL STORM WARNING… A Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for all of the Mississippi Coast from the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR COASTAL ALABAMA… Right now, the National Hurricane Center is keeping the Tropical Storm Watch in place for all parts of Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama as it is a bit more uncertain as to if tropical storm force winds will happen in those two counties. None of Florida or inland counties of Alabama are involved in the Tropical Storm Watch at this time.

STORM SURGE WARNING… A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from east of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, to the Mississippi/Alabama border including Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas. A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.

APP ALERTS… Many updates will be posted over the next few days in the RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the alerts you’d like to receive from me. If you like a lot of info, be sure to toggle ON Low-Level Alerts.

My next detailed update will be posted by 7:15AM on Saturday morning. Until then, plenty more updates will be posted in the RedZone Weather app. Have a nice Friday evening!

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