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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Hey what are the chances of this thing hitting South Florida. The east coast of Florida? Should I get my shutters together and on the windows or what?
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Quoting weathergeek5:


He is on twitter and here is his latest tweet:

JimCantore
Following

* Follow
* Lists
*

Your lists:

1.

Heading to Florida with Abrams. No we aren't having an affair... remember she Wakes up with AL

Now that is LOLtastic!
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Quoting Portlight:
Pat...What, if anything, are you hearing from/about the gulf rigs?


Some are evacuating check ap news
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Quoting alaina1085:

Amen to that... geez.
Nothing. This has been happening and mother nature has nothin to do with it. If you would look at all the storms
Quoting IKE:


Agree...I-10 is a bad road to drive on anyway...especially if it's raining.
Yeh, my wife and I hydroplaned 2 miles west of the Chipley I10 overpass. Destroyed a Mustang and wife cam out of with cracked ribs.
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Quoting weathergeek5:


He is on twitter and here is his latest tweet:

I believe the word you are searching for is twit.

That other word is reserved for the one whom says "Puddy Tat!"
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Quoting IKE:


Wave heights are coming up.


shes a strong lass, still I expect max 50mph winds here.
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434. IKE
Cantore and Abrams in the panhandle...lol.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
OZ, You streaming live ?
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Pat...What, if anything, are you hearing from/about the gulf rigs?
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Quoting cybergrump:
Looking at the cancun radar it sure looks like a west motion at the end of the loop. Is this what the NHC saw in its track.Link


nope moving NNW
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well guys thats it for me this year...my best to the folks on the Gulf Coast..I hope its just a bit windy and some life giving rain...talk to you all next year...I can only assume we will all have more to talk about..
Take Care
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Quoting weathergeek5:


He is on twitter and here is his latest tweet:

JimCantore
Following

* Follow
* Lists
*

Your lists:

1.

Heading to Florida with Abrams. No we aren't having an affair... remember she Wakes up with AL


LMAO
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Quoting weathergeek5:


He is on twitter and here is his latest tweet:

JimCantore
Following

* Follow
* Lists
*

Your lists:

1.

Heading to Florida with Abrams. No we aren't having an affair... remember she Wakes up with AL


omg lmao!!!
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427. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
Mid Gulf Ike here.

Station 42001 (LLNR 1400) - MID GULF 180 nm South of Southwest Pass, LA

5-day plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): E ( 90 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD):
27.2 kts


5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 33.0 kts

5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 14.1 ft

5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 10 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 7.9 sec
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.84 in


Wave heights are coming up.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Looking at the cancun radar it sure looks like a west motion at the end of the loop. Is this what the NHC saw in its track.Link
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I-10 becomes a parking lot.... best but is backroads headed north.
Quoting mossyhead:
YOU are better off going North.
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Quoting GBguy88:


Not sure if it's a rumor or not, but supposedly he's already here in Pensacola.


He is on twitter and here is his latest tweet:

JimCantore
Following

* Follow
* Lists
*

Your lists:

1.

Heading to Florida with Abrams. No we aren't having an affair... remember she Wakes up with AL
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Quoting GBguy88:


Not sure if it's a rumor or not, but supposedly he's already here in Pensacola.


Check Landry's on Gregory, he's fond of the restaurant
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Mid Gulf Ike here.

Station 42001 (LLNR 1400) - MID GULF 180 nm South of Southwest Pass, LA

5-day plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): E ( 90 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD):
27.2 kts


5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 33.0 kts

5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 14.1 ft

5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 10 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 7.9 sec
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.84 in
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
421. IKE
Quoting mossyhead:
YOU are better off going North.


Agree...I-10 is a bad road to drive on anyway...especially if it's raining.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
418 quit baiting people
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Look how the Xtratropical system is getting kicked out and how the NW Gulf clouds are moving with the front.

BBL
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Quoting StormW:
Hey gang,

It's gonna take a while as I am going to be doing very close analysis, running the SLOSH model info, saving graphics and such, and making contact with the U.S.C.G. COMMAND in Norflok, VA. Should be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

However, anyone who can stay awake, I promise once everything is posted, I'll stay up for a question and answer period.

Oh, where's my "She'll never make it off Nicaragua, and the Wind Shear crowd tonight?
there hanging out on the sidelines with all the east casters eating crow jerky
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Quoting JUSTCOASTING:
Hey OZ where u at and are you going to stay there ?


Currently, I'm one of three tables at Hall's restaurant in Pensacola, FL. I'm ready to leave to go back to Warrington, where I will spend the night.

Tomorrow...work all day is scheduled as I convert my van from a travel trip into a hurricane hunter.

Doug and I will go to bed early tomorrow so that we can get up at around 1 AM on Tuesday.

Within 30 minutes, we'll make our decision on where I'll head to intercept the storm. Adjustments can be made (5-10 miles) as we get closer to landfall.

Once the system makes landfall, I should be in position to attempt punching the core. I'll be doing other work in the storm, too. As the storm tracks, I'll either follow or try to get ahead of it, but this will have to be done carefully and slowly.

When it's over, I'll spend a day recording damaged areas...then it's adios until next time.

This chase will be included in the winter TV show I'm producing on YouTube...but you guys may get an "experience" out of it, maybe. :)
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Quoting bjdsrq:


That's what I-10 is for.... contingency.
Ohh, I have a contengency plan. I bought 4 12 packs today instead of 3....lol....I don't leave. I can't but I am prepared
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414. IKE
Buoy 262 NM south of Panama City...at 26N and 85.6W....winds to near 40 in gusts.

Wind Direction (WDIR): E ( 80 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 27.2 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 33.0 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 12.8 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 9 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 6.6 sec
5-day plot - Mean Wave Direction Mean Wave Direction (MWD): E ( 100 deg true )
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.88 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.02 in ( Rising )
5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 78.1 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 80.2 °F
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting StormW:
Good evening!


Where is TAZ?!!!
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BBL
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Oh, where's my "She'll never make it off Nicaragua, and the Wind Shear crowd tonight?


....putting up hurricane shutters.....:)
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Quoting bjdsrq:


That's what I-10 is for.... contingency.
YOU are better off going North.
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I will be up Stormw cant wait for your take on this. How close is Ida to a Cat 3 now ?
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A Impressive Dvorak ,notice all the shades in sequence and overall structure tonight.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
Quoting TampaSpin:
I believe the turn is coming early from everything i have looked at.....Just My Opinion!


She probably not a big fan of the Saints.
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Quoting 1965:


Exactly!

We keep hearing about this unfavorable shear she is in, but fact is we have a storm on the verge of cat 3 status in November LOL.
I believe since the shear is behind it and not going against it is why the shear is not having a great effect on it. Just like Wilma.
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Quoting sarahjola:
WHERE IS THIS THING GOING?

What? Can't hear ya.
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Quoting ALCoastGambler:
But I'm hearing from everyone here that it is going to turn to the east now and not affect P'cola....lol


That's what I-10 is for.... contingency.
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Quoting StormW:
Hey gang,

It's gonna take a while as I am going to be doing very close analysis, running the SLOSH model info, saving graphics and such, and making contact with the U.S.C.G. COMMAND in Norflok, VA. Should be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

However, anyone who can stay awake, I promise once everything is posted, I'll stay up for a question and answer period.

Oh, where's my "She'll never make it off Nicaragua, and the Wind Shear crowd tonight?


Evening Storm!

They're lurking in shame I assume.
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Quoting StormW:
Hey gang,

It's gonna take a while as I am going to be doing very close analysis, running the SLOSH model info, saving graphics and such, and making contact with the U.S.C.G. COMMAND in Norflok, VA. Should be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

However, anyone who can stay awake, I promise once everything is posted, I'll stay up for a question and answer period.

Oh, where's my "She'll never make it off Nicaragua, and the Wind Shear crowd tonight?

They have all changed into right casters
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Quoting StormW:
Hey gang,

It's gonna take a while as I am going to be doing very close analysis, running the SLOSH model info, saving graphics and such, and making contact with the U.S.C.G. COMMAND in Norflok, VA. Should be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

However, anyone who can stay awake, I promise once everything is posted, I'll stay up for a question and answer period.

Oh, where's my "She'll never make it off Nicaragua, and the Wind Shear crowd tonight?


ENjoying Crow Pie with Water I hear.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
Quoting CybrTeddy:
I'm starting to wonder.. what in Gods name did Louisiana do to mother nature!?!

Amen to that... geez.
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Quoting StormW:
Hey gang,

It's gonna take a while as I am going to be doing very close analysis, running the SLOSH model info, saving graphics and such, and making contact with the U.S.C.G. COMMAND in Norflok, VA. Should be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

However, anyone who can stay awake, I promise once everything is posted, I'll stay up for a question and answer period.

Oh, where's my "She'll never make it off Nicaragua, and the Wind Shear crowd tonight?

LOL Lmao
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Ida is starting to concern me now. Notice the clouds forming right off the big bend coast where there was supposed to be "unstoppably" dry air. I am afraid if I go to bed I will wake up and this thing could be banging on my door.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Dude...I can't wait. Doug is going to help me punch the core.

What does that mean. Tune in to find out when we go-live!
But I'm hearing from everyone here that it is going to turn to the east now and not affect P'cola....lol
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Quoting HIEXPRESS:
"Even with an increased recognition of favorable synoptic-scale TC-tornado environments, many of these tornadoes still occur without official National Weather Service (NWS) warnings or with little (or negative)lead time."

So... If you live in a tornado magnet, pay attention (NOAA weather radio, etc.) & have a planed place of safety nearby. These occurrrences could be in a rainband far removed from the center of a TC going subtropical. Not doomcasting, just reminding.
They start without any warning and move fast. I remember Ivan was still just ssw of Pensacola and they were having tornados in Panama City and north of PC.
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392. 1965
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Interesting how the shear is from the southwest--but most of the convection is on the south side of the storm. I don't see any reason why Ida will weaken during the night--although Monday should be a different story.


Exactly!

We keep hearing about this unfavorable shear she is in, but fact is we have a storm on the verge of cat 3 status in November LOL.
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I believe the turn is coming early from everything i have looked at.....Just My Opinion!
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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.

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