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Ida expected to be a major hurricane at landfall

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Posted at 7:09 AM, Aug 27, 2021

Tropical Storm Ida is continuing its run into the Gulf of Mexico Friday morning as it gets ready to move across Cuba.

Winds are currently at 45 mph, and the storm is showing some signs of organizing and strengthening, but starting Saturday afternoon that intensification will really begin to pick up.

Ida is expected to become a hurricane on Saturday afternoon, and will then quickly increase into a Category 3 storm making landfall in southeast Louisiana Sunday afternoon.

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All of Acadiana is currently in the cone, which stretches to roughly Ocean Springs, Mississippi, so please don't entirely focus on the center of the track as impacts are going to be felt miles outside of the center.

There isn't much change to the overall track through landfall but it's still possible that Ida wobbles a little and when it does so it can dramatically change the impacts for various locations, so it's best to err on the side of caution.

It seems that the track is following roughly in line with the current GFS model so will use that model when discussing impacts, but will continuously point out that those are just one model solution and if the track changes so will the impacts.

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Model data has been very consistent that this storm will bring with it about 10-15" worth of rainfall which could lead to some significant inland flooding, stressing not only the roadways but the local waterways as well.

Keep in mind that the worst of the rainfall will be located around the center of the storm, so as the center changes so will the heaviest rain, and while there's a sharp drop off to the western side of the storm the eastern side will see potential flooding rain as far east as the Florida Panhandle.

Central Acadiana will likely see rain totals around 2-4" but those number could quickly go up as one heads east with a 10" rainfall possible in Morgan City, and even 5-8" possible in portions of Iberia Parish.

The rain will bring about a round of inland flooding but down along the coast, specifically Louisiana's southeastern coastline, there is a threat from a significant storm surge.

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Along the Acadiana coastline a storm surge of 4-7 feet is expected, mostly through the coastal marshes but residents in Cypermort Point will need to be mindful of rising waters, and it should go without saying that tides will start running a little higher by Saturday.

The most significant storm surge is expected along the mouth of the Pearl River which is the border of Mississippi and Louisiana with a major storm surge expected south of Slidel, a little futher west Grand Isle could be looking at a major storm surge as well and those numbers could go up if the storm shows signs of slowing closer to land.

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Winds around the center are expected to be sustained around 115 mph, with winds gusts that could hover around 120-130 mph around the center of the storm but those tropical winds will stretch well beyond the center.

There's a tight gradient of diminishing winds as one goes west but even then tropical storm forced winds will stretch as far west as central Acadiana, with hurricane winds stretching from roughly St. Mary Parish into the New Orleans metro.

Those who are on the border of the wind field still need to keep in mind that a small move in either direction will change where those impacts are felt.

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This is an initial run through of impacts in relation to Ida, and I would urge everyone to remember that these are all subject to change, and we will likely see tweaks to those impacts over the coming days.

The weather will begin to deteriorate on Sunday so all preparation needs to be completed by the end of the day on Saturday so you can go to bed knowing it's all done.

It's going to be hot the next few days with some scattered showers in the afternoon which may slow you down from finishing prep so make sure that you're giving yourself enough time to get everything completed.

There's a strange sense of deja vu writing this article as it is a year to the day that we posted our final update for Hurricane Laura, and while this is a completely different storm the sense of fear and anxiety is the same.

Remember that we've been here before it's not our first storm and, unfortunately, it won't be our last as it's a way of life that we've grown accustomed to here on the Gulf Coast.

While the fear and the panic is certainly understandable, it can be counterproductive, the best thing you can be right now is prepared and know that we'll be with you every step of the way.

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