Joe’s Weather Blog: Ida churns in the Gulf of Mexico (SAT-8/28)

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No big changes regarding our local weather through the weekend. What’s been written and talked about for the last week or so continues with chances for rain tomorrow. There may be a few showers around in the morning…with a somewhat better chance later in the day or evening. Another chance of pop-ups around the area on Monday then not much else beyond that for KC.

Ida is the main story this weekend…as it will make landfall in Louisiana later tonight into early Sunday.

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Forecast:

Today: Sunny and breezy. Occasional gusts over 20 MPH. Highs in the lower 90s

Tonight: Clear and mild with lows in the lower 70s

Tomorrow: Variable clouds with a few showers/storms out there. Main chance appears to be in the later afternoon or evening in KC. Highs in the 90° range

Monday: Partly cloudy with some scattered storms possible. Highs in the mid 80s

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Discussion:

Ida is the main issue for the weekend as the national media starts paying attention to what’s happening in the Gulf.

Ida made landfall yesterday in western Cuba…then it came out into the Gulf where the waters are warm to hot and the storm has many things in it’s favor to start really organizing today.

Here is the current information which should update automatically. Let’s start with the satellite loop.

You can see the beginnings of an eye trying to clear out…a sign of strengthening and organization. The storm is holding it’s own this morning according to recon investigating the system. It still looks a bit oblong in structure…with perhaps some shear on the northern side of the storm.

The Hurricane Center still is forecasting a rapid intensification stage to start today. This means that Ida is expected to intensify at least 35 mph within a 24 hour period. The good news, in a sense, is that Ida is moving along at around 15 MPH or so…and will only have about 36 hours or so to spend in the Gulf before it comes ashore. Still though there are a lot of winds that can increase in that time frame.

Again landfall appears to be around 7PM Sunday.

The location of said landfall hasn’t really wavered much in the past 24 hours…centering more or less south of Houma, LA. There may be some slight adjustments to the final landfall point. Remember the worst part of the hurricane will be towards and east of the center of the storm in terms of winds/surge.

There has already been quite a bit of rain in LA in the last couple of days. A bad set-up because of saturated conditions. This is a tweet that I sent out last night

Notice those 1-3″ totals in SE LA with higher estimated in southern MS…now look at this.

So 8+” of additional rains are possible adding to flooding concerns.

Then the storm surge aspect of the storm. This is water being brought in from the Gulf associated with the winds of the storm. The water will flow through the wetlands…and also create flooding conditions. The surge was the main killer in Katrina. By the way the 16 year anniversary of Katrina is going to be tomorrow…the same day Ida crashes ashore.

This map shows the potential surge…which may be under/overestimated depending on the eventual strength of Ida when it comes ashore.

Although in a storm surge scenario IF Ida strengthens earlier that equates to worst surge because the water has a chance to build up earlier…if it waits to peak out near landfall the worst of the surge may be somewhat reduced. Still though indications are over 9 FEET of water will rush in (the red colors).

The strengthening part of the storm should really come together later today especially. IF it doesn’t really ramp up tonight it may not be a category 4 (forecast) storm at landfall…but as I’ve written about…the gasoline is just waiting in the path of the storm.

There is no doubt that this part of the Gulf does create fast intensification given the right circumstances.

The obvious hope is that this doesn’t get even worse.

At this point the highest risk of at least 74+ MPH winds are guided by this.

Here is the HRRR model showing the storm coming ashore…again there may be some slight adjustments in the final point of landfall.

For timing…7PM is 0Z>1AM is 6Z>7AM is 12Z and 1PM is 18Z

From a wind standpoint…

Garry and Alex will keep you up to date on the air.

The feature photo comes from Austin Hamilton up in IA

Joe

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