Friday, August 27, 2021

1:43pm CDT Hurricane Ida Update

-- I am predicting that Hurricane Ida will be Category 4 intensity when it makes landfall in Louisiana Sunday. --

Ida is moving back over water from a pass over the Isle of Youth as indicated in this NOAA satellite image (below). The lightning during the past hour indicates the storm is strengthening. The developing eye is circled.

The National Hurricane Center's 1pm wind speed was 75 mph but data from the Hurricane Hunters and its appearance on satellite indicate that winds may be a little more than 80 mph now. The central pressure is dropping rapidly and is now down to 986 millibars.

The ECMWF, traditionally the best model, just came in stronger than any of the others. The director of the National Hurricane Center a few minutes ago tweeted that "any category" is possible with Ida. Meteorologists have a way of dancing around these things so I'll just say it:

It is my professional opinion that Ida will be a Category 4 at landfall. It is possible it will be a 5 but I think that forecast may be a tough premature, at least until Ida has completely passed Cuba. 

Here is how I would make a forecast to evacuate. Below are two forecast wind patterns from the latest model output along with the storm surge forecast.

GFS Model


Storm Surge Mapping for a Cat 3 Storm

click to enlarge

Evacuation? Look at the above three maps. 

  • If I lived in the white, pink, salmon or gray area on either map, I'd leave!
  • If I lived in the colored areas on the inundation map, keeping in mind it is conservative, I'd leave.
And, I'd leave before darkness falls Saturday night. Because want to stay out of the areas that will have heavy rains and flooding, I'd go to Shreveport or even Houston or Dallas. 

Below is a map just released by the City of New Orleans. 
Red = mandatory evacuation. Yellow (at this point), voluntary. Me? With COVID jamming hospitals and everything, again, I'd get out. 

Addition, 2:30pm. This is from the director of the National Hurricane Center.
I don't entirely agree with him. Mobile homes will fail and poorly constructed site-built homes may fail in Cat 4 winds, not to mention the threat of major damage if trees fall. There will also be the likelihood of power failures that last for days. As I state above, if you live in the white (>90mph) winds, I'd recommend getting out -- especially with the storm surge threat. If you are financially able to get it, you are doing a service for those who aren't -- you are helping distance people in the shelters (COVID).

-- Back to Original Posting -- 
Finally, the latest rainfall amount forecast shows the potential of severe flooding due to torrential rain once Ida moves inland.
This is why people in Louisiana should evacuate west. You can practically count on flooding in the dark orange-orange-gold and yellow areas. 

What I Recommend If You Are in the Path
  • Evacuate if you are told to do so. 
  • Before you leave, turn off water at the main valve and turn off electricity at the master switch. 
  • Contact infirm friends or family in the region. Come up with a plan to protect them should they be placed in a hurricane warning (~24-30 hr before landfall). This especially applies if an evacuation is ordered. Don't wait until the last minute when rooms may all be reserved! Insure they have appropriate transportation in an evacuation. 
  • Get prescriptions refilled NOW! Don't wait for the weekend. 
  • Make a hotel reservation well inland. However, make sure you can cancel it at no charge. If it turns out you don't need the room, be courteous the cancel the reservation. This way, you'll have a nice place to stay, if needed. It also frees up the shelters for people who cannot afford hotels. Because of the flooding threat, I might recommend Sheveport or even Dallas. 
  • Figure out what you can fit in your car in the way of irreplaceable items like scrapbooks and family heirlooms. 
  • Make sure you have at least three ways of receiving vital warning information. 
  • Prepare for power failures. If you have a generator, fill it with fuel. Do the same for your car. If you want a generator, have a professional install it.  
  • Get extra cash at the ATM. Credit cards don't work if the power fails. 
  • If you have a chain saw, fill it with fuel. 
  • Clean out gutters. 
  • Install your hurricane shutters or board up windows.
Please make your friends aware of my these postings along along with my Twitter account @usweatherexpert.  

Please make your friends and family aware of my blog as I will be providing coverage until the storm is well inland. 

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