Ida takes aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:17 PM GMT on November 08, 2009

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Hurricane Ida burst into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds this afternoon, and is poised to deliver a solid blow to the U.S. Gulf Coast between Southeast Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday morning. Radar imagery out of Cancun reveals that Ida has retained its tight inner core this afternoon, with only limited rain bands affecting Mexico and western Cuba. Top winds at Cancun, Mexico today were only 15 mph, despite the fact that Ida passed just 60 miles east of the city. Infrared and visible satellite loops show little change in the intensity of Ida's heavy thunderstorms this afternoon, but the cloud pattern is beginning to become distorted due to strong upper-level winds from the southwest that are creating 20 - 25 knots of wind shear over the hurricane. Water vapor satellite imagery reveals a large area of dry air to the southwest of Ida, but this dry air has not yet intruded into Ida's core. The latest 5:30 pm EST vortex report from the Hurricane Hunters showed that the central pressure had risen 1 mb, to 977 mb, but that the surface winds were still near 100 mph. They noted that the eyewall was open to the east, a sign that Ida's inner core may be in trouble.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image from NASA's Terra spacecraft, taken at 1:35 pm EST 11/08/09. Image credit: NASA.

The intensity forecast for Ida
The high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to persist at that level until Monday night. With the storm now beginning to show a distortion of the cloud pattern due to this shear, it would not be a surprise of the shear managed to inject some dry air into Ida's core Monday morning, significantly weakening the storm. Aiding this process will be cooler waters. Early Monday morning, Ida will be crossing over waters of 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane. By Monday night, wind shear is expected to increase to 40 knots, which ordinarily would begin to tear the storm apart. This wind shear is due to an extratropical low pressure system over the western Gulf of Mexico, and this low will begin dumping cold, stable air into Ida Monday night through Tuesday. This will cause Ida to begin transitioning to an extratropical storm, and it is possible that during the transition Ida's winds will die down relatively slowly, despite the wind shear. The intensity forecast has a high amount of uncertainty, and I wouldn't be surprised at a landfall strength anywhere in the range of 45 mph - 80 mph. My personal best guess is a 50 - 60 mph tropical storm at landfall. Regardless of Ida's strength at landfall, the storm will be able to dump 4 - 8 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast, from New Orleans to Panama City. Isolated tornadoes will also be possible, primarily to the right side of Ida's track.


Figure 2. Maximum storm surge (depth of water above ground) for a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds moving north-northeast at 15 mph. Ida is expected to be moving at this speed and direction at landfall, but will probably be weaker, so surges will not be this high. Image credit: NOAA SLOSH model run for Mobile Bay, 2008 version. Heights are given relative to the NAVD88 datum.

The storm surge forecast for Ida
Storm surge is the other major concern for Ida. With a strong high pressure system anchored over the U.S. today, the pressure difference between this high and Ida is creating a strong pressure gradient that will drive tides 3 - 5 feet above normal from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle tonight. As Ida approaches on Monday, an additional rise in water will occur, and a large stretch of coast will be subject to very high water levels for an extended period of time. With battering waves building Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, a significant coastal erosion event is shaping up. A particular concern is the western end of Alabama's Dauphin Island, where storm surges from four hurricanes over the past fifteen years have caused heavy damage to the low-lying heavily developed island. If Ida makes a direct hit on Mobile Bay as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds, a storm surge of up to six feet is possible there, assuming the storm hits at mean tide. The tidal range along the Gulf Coast varies by about 1.5 feet between low and high tide (Figure 3). High tide is near 2 am EST on Tuesday, but the official NHC forecast currently has the storm hitting between 6 am - 9 am, when the tide will be going out, so the storm may indeed be hitting at about mean tide.


Figure 3. The tide forecast for the Gulf Coast calls for high tide to occur around 2 am EST Tuesday morning. Ida is expected to hit later that morning, while the tide is going out.

I'll have an update Monday morning.

Links to follow:

U.S. Severe Weather Page
Cancun radar

Jeff Masters

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IKE u on? just wandering latest wind / rain affects here in panhandle ( north of panama city near alabama border are)??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"oh man if schools close in Mississippi that is not going to be good."

Keep in mind, Hancock County has many low-lying areas that are prone to flooding from rain as well as even slight water rise from surge. Hubby and I were just down at the Long Beach harbor and the water rise is already evident. Very close to topping the piers at the marina.
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Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
oh man if schools close in Mississippi that is not going to be good.


Schools are closed here in Escambia Co Fl. for Mon and Tues
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Latest Satelite image is in and if you look hard enough you can see a slightly visable eye located in the Northeast portion of the circulation. Banding has also increased.

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Quoting surfmom:
GOM LATEST WIND CHART might be what you are looking for Ossqss

Link



Thanks Surf, got surfable potential on my lake. LoL

Looks like its makin a break up the middle.



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635. hercj
Hey Senior Chief. I for one am glad you are on here.
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Quoting Chucktown:
Evening Press, looks like a wet couple of days here in the Lowcountry - could go severe Tuesday and Wednesday of course dependent upon the exact track of Ida. Still, we'll be right of the storm the whole time, so could be interesting.


well...we've had a good run lately Chuck...guess we're due
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Quoting StormW:
Still doing analysis...but for a quick thought, looking at NHC track, recent model guidance, against water vapor imagery and steering layers forecast maps, NHC has a good track, though I feel more to the right, possibly coming ashore near or west of Destin FL. This is just based on a quick look though.


Seems reasonable for now.
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Quoting MobileTaz:
Mobile County Public schools will be open on Monday
Just found it. Thank you
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Quoting presslord:
OK...Didn't stormtaco warn us all about Ida like, I dunno...three weeks ago?


I think stormtaco is flying recon right now. I for one am awaiting the report.
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Ida weakening? Dunno with any certainty but the CDO on WV looks to be shrinking and outflow is becoming weaker on the southern and western flanks
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
oh man if schools close in Mississippi that is not going to be good.
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Quoting aquak9:


LMAO

stormtaco?? oh man, can't breathe, laughing too hard...
You must realize that Stormtaco is lurking and waiting to strike....
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624. flsky
Quoting IKE:


Local TV stations are scrolling info now and breaking in with live information almost every hour.

In CFL, they're doing updates every 10 min on ch 13. They're playing strength down a bit, but with a disclaimer that conditions change all the time and to stay tuned.
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This storm kinda reminds me of Hurricane Allison of 1995.
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621. IKE
Quoting StormW:
Still doing analysis...but for a quick thought, looking at NHC track, recent model guidance, against water vapor imagery and steering layers forecast maps, NHC has a good track, though I feel more to the right, possibly coming ashore near or west of Destin FL. This is just based on a quick look though.


That would put the center coming right over me.

I'm going to wait until tomorrow and if it looks like the western Florida panhandle is in a bulls-eye w/a cat one, I'll seek somewhere safer to ride it out.
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Navy meteorologist here in Gulfport. Wow pretty crazy stuff. Lots of wishcasting going on but I will say this, she still looks good as of this hour. Still to early to pinpoint landfall but expect somewhere between Ms/Al border and Destin. Fun to watch it play out though..
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Is it my imagination, or do cloud tops seem to be warming? Looks to me like Ida's running out of breath. Should maintain some intensity, but I think the fat lady is warming up her vocal cords.
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Evening Press, looks like a wet couple of days here in the Lowcountry - could go severe Tuesday and Wednesday of course dependent upon the exact track of Ida. Still, we'll be right of the storm the whole time, so could be interesting.
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Quoting P451:
Dvorak potentially showing the eyewall and a warming eye? Dead center CDO



Loops seem to show the circulation north of the white "center dot" though on loops.

First image it popped however. This might be it.



your dead on.The fellow that posted the eye earlier wasnt even close.That image is on the money.Going over the southern gulf loop current now i imagine a 12 hour intensity to cat 3 possible with a brief eye popping out
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Mobile County Public schools will be open on Monday
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Gulf WV Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST, to be used in the event you make a minor discrepancy in your forecast.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
see....tacoman/stormtop...sometimes he's right.

he was screaming about NOLA destruction, before they even named Katrina.

But that...was back in the day...
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Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties in nw Florida are waiting until tomorrow to make a decision.
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Quoting MobileTaz:


Baldwin County schools are closed on Monday per wkrg
What about Mobile County. TIA
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Hey StormW

I hav enot talked to you in a while how ar eyou doing ?
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 793
Quoting MrstormX:


So true, and lets face it the media becomes less about news and more about politics and health care every year. So naturally less time for Hurricanes.
its only good news when it hits a highly popu;ated area and people that have never worked a day in there lives are demanding help.Oh yeah and you have to have gerado and kanye west there also
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608. IKE
Quoting Nolehead:
where did the tracking plots go from the NHC?? not on the water vapor....is there an update coming out soon or something??


Update in 30-45 minutes.


Quoting CaneLover:
so...I see they moved the "cone of death" east a bit with the last advisory barely putting MS in it. Do you all think MS can breathe a sigh of relief now????


Too soon to know for sure.


Quoting LAnovice:
Is anyone else having problems getting the NHC track to load in the sat images?


I'm not having issues.
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I've been pre-occupied with "stuff" and didn't even know Ida was still a threat. Okay, bad. But I turn on the TV tonight and hear there is a hurricane update at 11 pm. We're in east central NC between Raleigh and Fayetteville. They say we need the rain. But we don't! My artesian well is just now going down below ground level. What's on tap for us? I know that no one can predict the exact path, but has anyone mentioned rain effects for NC? Thank you.
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GOM LATEST WIND CHART might be what you are looking for Ossqss

Link
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Quoting mossyhead:
My wife kept telling me i was doing a great job and all i was doing was going for the ride. The guard rails would not let me get control of the car. I am like Ike, i try to stay off I1O in the rain.
Quoting MrstormX:


Not what I meant, what I mean is that Ike is such a better looking storm yet somehow Ida is almost the same strength as him.
This happened for Opal. Even though the NHC warned everyone the day before about Opal's right turn, nobody paid any attention until the morning of the turn. All highways going north was jammed. People were getting out of the cars to ask people to let them in to get through the hurricane.
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Quoting pcolasky:


I think most of us are prepared! Cat 1 or a strong TS

I hope it doesn't add too much to the woes of...
Well, I happen to know first hand that there is still a bit of litigation going on with Ivan claims.
(Yes, I know that sounds absurd)
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thanks mobiletaz!!! been trying to find something out...
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Ida is almost Due South of Pensacola ATM


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
553.. LOL.. It was a tough year for FL.. but CLOSED?? That is funny!
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a
Quoting presslord:
OK...Didn't stormtaco warn us all about Ida like, I dunno...three weeks ago?

I dunno he said something bout a major cane hitting nola I think .... which doesnt seem to be happening so i guess his dart landed close but not the bullseye ... I'll give him a triple 14 for effort ..
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
Quoting surfmom:


- common remark "what cane...it's November , 'cane season is over...."


1) It's a weekend. Media didn't staff for it.
2) People shooting each other all over the country since Thursday. Bigger story (sad one.)
3) Obama-nation health care bill passed house. Bigger story (sad one.)
4) TWC tunnel visioned on pumping "Wake up with Al".
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Floater - JSL Color Infrared Loop

TFP's NOT available ATT


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 420 Comments: 127543
this should be GOM Swell Chart

Link
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Good Evening!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.