Hurricane Ida continues to rapidly intensify
Impacts for parts of Alabama are possible late Sunday through late Tuesday
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - All eyes are on Hurricane Ida and how the forecast is progressing. As of the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, this system continues to become better organized and will likely continue to strengthen; it’s currently sitting in the warm, open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and will eventually reach major hurricane strength before making landfall along the Louisiana coast late in the day Sunday.
The forecast officially calls for a peak of 130 - 140 mph (category 4) wind speeds before landfall in either south-central or southeastern Louisiana.
There’s really nothing stopping Ida from getting stronger than what the forecast is calling for, though. All variables in play over the Gulf are very supportive of quick strengthening. There’s virtually no wind shear, no land interaction other than a brief pass over western Cuba and the water is very, very warm.
This will support not only healthy strengthening, but rapid intensification as well. The chance of the system quickly intensifying over the Gulf of Mexico is very much there... all the way up to landfall.
The landfall point will likely be somewhere in south-central or southeastern Louisiana. Some subtle shifts are possible, but landfall is all but assured to be in Louisiana.
Once making landfall, Ida is forecast to move north and then curve northeast as it cuts across Mississippi and northern Alabama.
This path will result in impacts for most of central and south Alabama from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday night. Those impacts will mostly be from the rain bands rotating around Ida on the eastern and southeastern side of the storm’s center.
At this time we believe the rain bands will be capable of producing heavy tropical downpours, some instances of flash flooding, some tornadoes, and strong gusty winds to 30-45 mph. The exact timing, extent and magnitude of each of those impacts is not 100% set in stone, but we will likely see all four of those elements across our area -- especially Monday and Tuesday.
Those along and west of I-65 and north of the Montgomery metro have the highest probability of seeing strong wind gusts, flash flooding and tornadoes based on the Friday afternoon models. However, a shift in Ida’s path by just a handful of miles could change that. Stay tuned!
The storm should push away and fade by Wednesday, ending any threat for Central Alabama.
Before Ida arrives we’ve got your typical summertime shower and storm potential both today and tomorrow. Coverage will be around 40% and there will be plenty of dry time both days with highs in the lower 90s.
Once Ida departs we’re back to a summertime pattern as September gets underway. It will be hot and humid with chances for showers and storms as we round out next week.
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