Hurricane hunters have found that Tropical Depression Nine has become Ida this afternoon.
The system will clip Cuba and emerge into the southern Gulf late Friday.
It is expected to then continue strengthening on Saturday as it takes advantage of the very warm waters in the Gulf as well as relatively low wind shear.
The NHC makes it very clear that rapid intensification of the system could be possible due to these favorable environmental conditions. Here is there latest messaging:
Landfall is expected to be sometime Sunday along the Louisiana coastline, although timing can certainly still change a bit.
The NHC has the center coming in just east of Morgan City per the latest 4 pm advisory.
With that said, we often talk about how something as little as a 30-50 mile shift in a track can make a huge difference when it comes to who will experience the worst impacts from a storm.
Furthermore, whether you are on the west or east side of a storm makes a big difference as well.
It is extremely important to keep that in mind and to consider the cone of error.
Here is the steering pattern we are looking at.
A stronger ridge over the eastern US would likely nudge the storm farther west.
On the contrary, If the the ridge were to begin to weaken a bit (As has been advertised by the GFS over the last couple of runs), that would potentially allow for a curve to the north and east sooner.
What's the takeaway? Well, there remains at least some uncertainty in the EXACT track forecast, landfall location, etc (and thus specific impacts still need to be ironed out).
Expect changes, even if subtle.
What we do know is that the Gulf of Mexico will be favorable for further intensification of the system.
The hurricane center has made that pretty clear in their discussions with a major hurricane being a real possibility.
What we can all do now is review and go over our hurricane preparedness plans in the event we have to put them into action this weekend.
Continue to stay with the katc weather team for the very latest.