Friday, August 27, 2021

4:24pm CDT Update on Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Warning for New Orleans and Much 
of the Louisiana Coast

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and I are in agreement that Ida will be a Cat 4 at landfall. There will be a dangerous storm surge of up to 11 feet above sea level which does not even count tides and waves. 

A number of evacuation orders have gone out this afternoon. I urge you to follow them. 

NHC's latest "cone" forecast. 
Currently, Ida has winds of 80 mph and a central pressure of 985 millibars. Color code:
  • Red is a hurricane warning. 
  • Blue is a tropical storm warning (winds of 40 to 73 mph).
  • Pink is a hurricane watch. 
  • Yellow is a tropical storm watch. 
  • M = major hurricane (winds ≥ 111 mph).
  • H = hurricane/
  • S = tropical storm. 
NHC is forecasting sustained winds of 140 mph winds at landfall with gusts to 167 mph. Mobile homes will fail at far lower wind speeds and many site-built homes will experience serious damage. To put it another way, these winds are similar to an upper EF-3 or lower EF-4 tornado. For more on the geographic placement of the winds, see below.

ECMWF Model Wind Forecast

The above model's wind forecast is very similar to that of NHC's forecast. However, the swath of strongest winds may not be strong enough on the east side. If it were me and I lived in the area where it is colored white-pink-salmon-gray, I would get out! Even if the wind doesn't directly damage your home, falling trees may. Plus, you will likely lose power for days. If you have the financial means to leave, why do you want to put up with that? Plus, you will be doing a moral good for those who cannot leave. Why? Fewer people in the shelters means better COVID distancing. 

For comparison, this is what EF-3 tornado damage looks like from a Louisiana tornado. 

However, the area where these winds are forecast to occur (the gray and very darkest shade of red) may also see serious storm surge damage. The point: you don't want to stay for this!

You may also need to evacuate because of the storm surge. Here is a map of the area now under a storm surge warning (red).

Bottom Line on Evacuation?
  • If I lived in the white, pink, salmon or gray area on the ECMWF wind map, I'd leave!
  • If I lived in the red on the inundation map, I'd leave.
And, I'd leave before darkness falls Saturday night. Because you'll want to stay out of the areas that will have heavy rains and flooding, I'd go to Shreveport or even Houston or Dallas. You can see that in the forecast rainfall map.
I nearly guarantee flooding in the dark orange, orange, gold and yellow areas. That is why evacuating to the west is the better idea. Shreveport will work as will Houston or Dallas. 

What I Recommend If You Are in the Higher Wind or Storm Surge Areas
  • 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.
Financial checklist, if you have time. Put them in a safe deposit box except, of course cash.

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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