Aug. 30 (UPI) — Hurricane Ida was moving over southeastern Louisiana late Sunday, the 16th anniversary of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, forecasters said.
In a 10 p.m. CDT update, the National Hurricane Center said Ida had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, a drop from 130 mph a few hours earlier, and was located 30 miles east-southeast of Baton Rouge and 40 miles west-northwest of New Orleans. Ida was moving north-northwest at 9 mph.
In the early morning Sunday Ida strengthened from a Category 2 to a Category 4 within two hours. By late Sunday, it was back to a Category 2.
Despite the drop in strength, the NHC said portions of southeastern Louisiana will continue to experience a “catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding.”
A hurricane warning is in effect for Morgan City, La. to the mouth of the Pearl River, as well as Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Metropolitan New Orleans.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Intracoastal City, La., to the mouth of the Pearl River and from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama Florida border.
The NHC said the general motion should continue through early Monday, followed by a slower northward motion on Monday afternoon with a northeastward turn forecast by Monday night.
Ida is forecast to travel inland over portions of Louisiana and western Mississippi on Monday and Monday night.
“Catastrophic wind damage is likely where the core of Ida moves onshore along the southeast coast of Louisiana,” the NHC said.
Rainfall up to 2 feet are forecast in some area.
“Total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 24 inches are possible across southeast Louisiana into far southern Mississippi through Monday,” the NHC said. “This is likely to result in life-threatening flash and urban flooding and significant riverine
AccuWeather forecasters are warning residents and businesses from the Texas coast to Louisiana and the panhandles of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, as well as fishing and petroleum operations, to closely monitor the progress of the intensifying storm and heed all warnings and evacuation notices from officials as Ida will strengthen rapidly along its path toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“The atmospheric environment is expected to rapidly become more conducive for this system to organize and strengthen,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Rob Miller said.
Sea-surface temperatures in the northwestern Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico could aid a strengthening storm, as they are well into the 80s F in many areas.
“Not only is there warm surface water along the projected path of Ida, but there is deep warm water in that zone,” AccuWeather chief on-air meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. That can help to counteract any cooling of surface waters that can occur due to the storm’s wave action.
Ida is the fourth storm in the Atlantic basin this year to reach hurricane strength, after Elsa, Grace and Henri. Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny and Fred maxed out at tropical storm strength. However, Ida would be only the second to become a major hurricane, after Grace.