UPDATE: Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that Ida has strengthened into a hurricane as it approaches the Isle of Youth, Cuba.
The maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts.
A sustained wind of 44 mph (70 km/h) and a gust of 60 mph (96 km/h) were recently reported on Cayo Largo, Cuba.
Air force recon aircraft have found near hurricane force winds inside of Ida, but it is still classified as a tropical storm. As of the 10am advisory, Ida is located at 20.7 81.2 winds are now up to 65mph with higher gusts. Ida is moving toward the NW at 15mph and will be moving over the Isle of Youth soon, with a clip of western Cuba later today.
After that, there is high confidence in the forecast track moving Ida toward Louisiana will happen. Hurricane Watches are posted for most of the Louisiana coastline. Hurricane Watches are now posted for the inland areas of Acadiana and including Storm surge watches are also posted eastward to the Florida panhandle.
The official National Hurricane Forecast brings Ida up to a major hurricane (Category 3) with winds of 120mph at landfall late Sunday. The center of the hurricane may cross the coast between Morgan City and Houma. While most of Acadiana will be on the west side of the storm, hurricane force winds will likely affect the eastern parishes of Acadiana.
The next intensity and position update will come at 1pm with a full forecast and new track and cone at 4pm from the NHC.
This slight shift west is in reaction to a model trend that started Friday morning bringing the storm back to Acadiana and was supported by a slight westward shift in the original low.
While the category of the storm hasn't changed the intensity is predicted to be slightly higher with winds around 120 mph at landfall and wind gusts near the center that may push closer to 130 mph.
As mentioned earlier in the day a shift in the track means a shift in the impacts, which for Acadiana means more intense impacts locally.
There's not much change in the expected storm surge since the angle of approach hasn't really shifted much and winds at landfall have only increased slightly which wouldn't have a major impact on the surge forecast.
Acadiana is currently looking at surge of roughly 4-7 feet along the Vermilion Bay to Morgan City, everything west of Morgan City to the mouth of the Pear River will be around 7-11 feet.
The angle the storm is approaching the coast means that the worst storm surge will be felt south of Slidel on the far eastern Louisiana coastline.
While the surge will certainly be a problem the biggest issue looks to be both wind and rain, especially if the western trend continues.
Models have pretty consistently been hinting at a 10-15" rainfall along and near the center of the storm, this would likely mean St. Mary Parish including Morgan City, west of the center though it get a little more tricky.
There seems to be a sharp gradient in the GFS leaving central Acadiana with several inches of rain but that's hit, rain totals of about 5-8" would be possible in Iberia Parish; where it gets complicated though is the EURO is picking up on a slightly larger storm and expanding the rain out a little.
Just to stay on the safe side Acadiana should be prepared for 5-8" of rain, with hot-spots mostly near the center of about 10-15" both of which are capable of causing street flooding and stressing the local waterways.
The winds are also a little tricky to nail down since it will rely so much on storm structure as it comes onshore and how far out the wind-field will stretch away from the center, while tropical storm winds are almost guaranteed for Acadiana there will be pockets of more extreme conditions.
Around the center we could see wind gusts as high as 120-130 mph, and areas in Acadiana could see gusts that approach 70-80 mph as the storm moves northward Sunday night.
This could cause significant damage to trees, power poles, roofs, and other structures, do not ride the storm out in a manufactured home.
The two model runs above are a good example of how much a slight difference in track can really impact where you see the worst winds, so focus more on the swaths of high winds and how close they are to you and how a slight track change could change that position.
We've already seen impacts shift around Friday morning, and we'll likely see them do so again but regardless the best thing to do now is put your hurricane plan in place and start going through your preparation.
There are two days left to get ready as you'll want your prep work wrapped up by Saturday night.