Just days afterswept through the northeast, the tropics pose another, even more dangerous threat. The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a system in the Caribbean that was upgraded to a tropical storm named Ida on Thursday afternoon. In just a few days, it is expected to land as a powerful hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
Ida is located west-southwest of Jamaica, with sustained winds of about 40 mph, and is moving rapidly northwest. Predictors predict rapid organization and strengthening as it approaches the Gulf Coast, and are likely to threaten Louisiana at or near major hurricane strength on Sunday.
Since the Gulf of Mexico has not seen a storm recently, the water has not been processed and sea surface temperatures are very hot, ranging from 86 degrees in the deeper water to 90 degrees near the Louisiana coast. Combine that with the fast-paced approach to peak hurricane season, and there’s good cause for concern.
Predictors have been monitoring the development of the system for several days. Before computer models can get on track, they need to know where the center of the storm will form. When it is clear, the models get an easier time.
There is a general consensus now, as this system is likely to be heading for the Louisiana coast. When it arrives depends on where it lands – the further west, the longer it takes. The window now appears to be narrowing Sunday to Monday. It does not give much time to prepare.
The image below shows two of the most reliable mid-range models, the European and American models. On Wednesday, runs of both models showed a strong hurricane landing somewhere along the Louisiana coast, but some other models predicted landing further west along the Texas coast.
Several models showed landing centered near western Louisiana. If this were to happen, it would be an unusual accident as both Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta landed in this area during last year’shurricane season.
Much can and will change – including the final track and intensity. It is recommended that residents in the area continue to be very attentive and confident that their hurricane safety kits are up to date.