Hurricane Ida churns into the Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 15:21 (GMT)

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Hurricane Ida is threading the gap between Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 hurricane, and now appears poised to bring a punishing combination of high tides and heavy rain Monday night and Tuesday morning to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Ida is a compact hurricane, and radar imagery out of Cancun (Figure 1) reveals a tight inner core, with only limited rain bands affecting Mexico and western Cuba as the storm shoots through the Yucatan Channel. Top winds at Cancun, Mexico this morning have only been 15 mph, despite the fact that Ida is passing just 60 miles east of the city. Infrared and visible satellite loops show little change to Ida's heavy thunderstorm over the past six hours, and the hurricane appears to have changed little since the last Hurricane Hunter aircraft left at 6:30 am. A new Hurricane Hunter mission is scheduled for 1 pm EST this afternoon.

Wind shear has increased over the storm since yesterday, and is now a high 20 - 25 knots. However, the storm is over some of the warmest waters in the Atlantic, with SSTs at 29°C, and the total ocean heat content a very high 100 kJ/cm^2.


Figure 1. Radar image of Ida from 9:28 am EST 11/08/09 from the Cancun, Mexico radar. Image credit; CONAGUA.

The forecast for Ida
The high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to persist at that level until Monday night. Some slow intensification is still possible while Ida remains over the exceptionally warm water of the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico, through tonight (Figure 2). Late tonight, Ida will be crossing over waters of 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane. With shear still expected to be at 20 -25 knots, I expect weakening to begin early Monday morning and accelerate on Monday afternoon. At that time, Ida will encounter 40 knots of wind shear associated with a cold front over the Gulf of Mexico, and begin transitioning to an extratropical storm. Exactly how strong Ida will be when it reaches the coast early Tuesday morning--and indeed if Ida even does reach the coast--is a forecast with high uncertainty. The computer models have a tough time forecasting the evolution of a tropical cyclone into an extratropical cyclone, and the models are all over the place on what will happen. Most of the models foresee a landfall near 1 am EST Tuesday between Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida, then a path northeastward over the Southeast U.S. However, Ida could come to halt before reaching the coast and turn east towards Tampa (the UKMET model's forecast), or turn south back over the Gulf of Mexico (the NOGAPS model's forecast). In any case, storm surge and heavy rain appear to be the main hazards from Ida. The GFDL model (Figure 3) is forecasting rain amounts of 4 - 8 inches for a large swath of the Gulf Coast, and there is a risk of tornadoes if the warm air from the core of Ida pushes ashore.


Figure 2. SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico, with the forecast track of Ida from Sunday's 10 am EST NHC forecast superimposed. Image credit: NOAA/AOML.

Storm surge is the other concern. With a strong high pressure system anchored voer 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 of another two feet is possible, and a large stretch of coast will be subject to very high water levels for an extended period of time. With high winds of 45 - 55 mph likely to build Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, significant coastal erosion event is shaping up. A particular concern is the low-lying, heavily developed western end of Alabama's Dauphin Island, where storm surges from four hurricanes over the past fifteen years have caused heavy damage.


Figure 3. Total rainfall amounts from the 1 am EST Sunday 11/08/09 run of the GFDL model. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.

I'll have an update later today.

Links to follow:

U.S. Severe Weather Page
Cancun radar

Jeff Masters

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1535. portcharlotte
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 11:27 (GMT)
IDA is weakening rapidly I
Member Since: 7.09.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 703
1534. Cavin Rawlins
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 11:07 (GMT)
Good Morning

Ida will undergo extratropical transition on the 10th

Member Since: 24.07.2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1533. Patrap
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 04:34 (GMT)
Ida's Northern Outer band can now be seen on Mobile Doppler Long Range..

Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
1532. Patrap
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 04:18 (GMT)
IDA Steering Layer 300-850mb - West Atlantic - Latest Available
Member Since: 3.07.2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
1531. winter123
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 03:30 (GMT)
h god.. its presentation has not changed in the past 6-12 hours, thats a really bad sign.
Member Since: 29.07.2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1762
1530. cattlebaroness
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 02:37 (GMT)
This may be a repeat of my question but my computer kicked me out half way through. Can someone please tell me how wide the strongest area of circulation is? I've read some forecasts that stated this was a small storm and I was wondering in comparison what size this circulation is. I apologize if this is a lame question.
1529. weatherganny
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 00:47 (GMT)
Can someone post the link to the models for Ida, please.
Member Since: 8.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 220
1527. fldude99
9. marraskuuta 2009 klo 00:07 (GMT)
Much different than the northern gulf coast..once the fronts start pushing thru and it cools down, thats usually the end of it
Member Since: 14.07.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
1526. hydrus
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:53 (GMT)
Went through 3 November tropical storms, Gordon, Kieth and Mitch...88, 94, and 98. all in S.W.Florida.
Member Since: 27.09.2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19521
1525. katadman
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:47 (GMT)
Quoting tornadodude:


where is Flood when we need him?? poof


Flood is down with a re-injured back. He may be lurking, though.
Member Since: 7.09.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1081
1524. TruthCommish
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:39 (GMT)
Quoting Jedkins01:

Ida is taking a more easterly track, and the NHC just doesn't want to admit all the models are wrong.


Yeah, that's their main agenda.
Member Since: 4.09.2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 158
1523. WeatherCaneFF1331
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:38 (GMT)
Quoting fldude99:
Hurricane in Nov on the northern gulf coast? Never seen it in my 30 yrs living around Pcola


nor have i living in milton for 25 years.
Member Since: 28.06.2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 32
1522. fldude99
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:32 (GMT)
Hurricane in Nov on the northern gulf coast? Never seen it in my 30 yrs living around Pcola
Member Since: 14.07.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
1521. beell
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:27 (GMT)
Quoting nolaweather12:


All depends on when the trough comes


May hazard a guess that the Gulfstream jet found it. Based on the height falls and SE to SW change in the upper level winds as measured by the current grid of dropsondes.
Member Since: 11.09.2007 Posts: 137 Comments: 15303
1520. acgreen305
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:26 (GMT)

thats whats going to happen
1519. nolaweather12
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:24 (GMT)
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


Again you are forgetting the trough is heading eastward and pushing on that ridge

No it is highly unlikely we will see a Louisiana landfall


All depends on when the trough comes
1518. CosmicEvents
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:23 (GMT)
Quoting DestinJeff:
i think many are hanging their hat on the "extra-tropical" nature of Ida at some point ... the important thing to remember is that, say, 80 MPH wind in an extra-tropical system is no different than that of a tropical system

if it makes you sleep better thinking "extra-tropical" means no big deal, cool, but just know that the wind doesn't know the difference and neither does the surf/tides

That's true. The effects are no different between tropical or extra-tropical. I'm interested on a possible transition as it's my understanding that if(when) it becomes extra-tropical then the wind effects expand greatly. Specifically, the winds can be at their worse 100-200 miles away from wherever the center is.
Member Since: 3.08.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5458
1517. PcolaDan
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:23 (GMT)
SE U.S., Gulf of Mexico Marine Weather





Member Since: 22.08.2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
1515. IKE
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:22 (GMT)
NEW BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: 9.06.2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1514. atmoaggie
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:20 (GMT)
Quoting DestinJeff:
i think many are hanging their hat on the "extra-tropical" nature of Ida at some point .. the important thing to remember is that, say, 80 MPH wind in an extra-tropical system is no different than that of a tropical system

if it makes you sleep better thinking "extra-tropical" means no big deal, cool, but just know that the wind doesn't know the difference and neither does the surf/tides

Actually a broadening TS-force windfield could be far worse than a relatively small 80 mph cane.
Member Since: 16.08.2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1512. stormsurge39
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:20 (GMT)
Im the biggest novice TC wannabe on here, but i know how a hurricane looks when it is strengthening on IR SATTELITE and Ida is doing it right now!!!
1511. IKE
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:20 (GMT)
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
319 PM CST SUN NOV 8 2009

.SHORT TERM...(TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY) QUITE A COMPLEX AND
CHALLENGING FORECAST WITH THE APPROACH OF HURRICANE IDA. HURRICANE
IDA HAS SLOWLY STRENGTHENED FOR MUCH OF THE DAY WITH THE SYSTEM
LOOKING IMPRESSIVE ON SATELLITE AND CANCUN RADAR. HOWEVER...THE LAST
FEW SATELLITE PICTURES SHOW A LITTLE MORE RAGGED CONVECTIVE ENVELOPE
WITH SIGNS OF SOUTHERLY SHEAR MAY BE STARTING TO AFFECT THE SYSTEM.

IDA IS FORECAST TO LEVEL OFF IN INTENSITY THIS EVENING AS IT
CONTINUES NORTH NORTHWESTWARD INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. WEAKENING IS
STILL EXPECTED AS WE PROGRESS THROUGH THE DAY MONDAY AS IDA
APPROACHES MUCH COOLER GULF WATERS. IN ADDITION...UPPER LEVEL WINDS
WILL BEGIN TO BECOME MORE HOSTILE AS AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH OVER
WESTERN TEXAS MOVES EAST TOWARD THE GULF. THIS SAME UPPER LEVEL
TROUGH WILL CONTINUE TO SEND IDA NORTHWARD AND IT IS EXPECTED TO
APPROACH THE NORTHERN GULF COAST BY LATE MONDAY NIGHT/EARLY TUESDAY
MORNING. THE BIG QUESTION MARK IS HOW FAST DOES IDA WEAKEN AND WILL
IT MAINTAIN TROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS AS IT APPROACHES OUR AREA?
THERE ARE DEFINITELY SOME MIXED SIGNALS OUT THERE AND FORECASTING
EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION IS ALWAYS CHALLENGING. THE GFS HAS
DEVELOPED AN INTERESTING SCENARIO WHERE IT FORECASTS A BAROCLINIC
LOW TO DEVELOP IN THE WESTERN GULF TOMORROW...WHICH IN TURN HANGS UP
THE EASTWARD MOVING COLD FRONT. THIS ALLOWS IDA TO SHOOT
NORTH...REMAINING IN THE WARM SECTOR AND DELAYING A TRANSITION. IN
FACT...THE CYCLONE PHASE DIAGRAM CHART FROM THE GFS REVEALS THE MODEL
MAINTAINING A TROPICAL SYSTEM UP UNTIL LANDFALL. HOWEVER...EVEN WITH
THE TROUGH HOLDING BACK...THE COOLER WATER...COOLER DRIER
CONTINENTAL AIR...AND INCREASING SHEAR WOULD SUGGEST THE SYSTEM MAY
BEGIN TO LOSE ITS TROPICAL FEATURES. TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE
COMPLICATED...THE HURRICANE WILL BEGIN TO INTERACT WITH A STRONG
UPPER LEVEL JET STREAK TO ITS NORTH...WHICH MAY SERVE AS A STRONG
POLEWARD OUTFLOW...HELPING TO MAINTAIN ITS INTENSITY.
ALL IN ALL...IT
IS GOING TO BE A VERY CLOSE CALL AND THE POSSIBILITY OF THIS SYSTEM
MAINTAINING THE PUNCH OF A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE IS HIGH ENOUGH TO
WARRANT THE ISSUANCE OF A HURRICANE WATCH FOR OUR ENTIRE COAST.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IF INDEED IDA BECOMES EXTRATROPICAL...WE ARE
STILL LOOKING AT A SIGNIFICANT WIND AND COASTAL FLOODING IMPACT. AS
IDA TRANSITIONS...ITS WIND FIELD WILL BROADEN AND THE GRADIENT
BETWEEN IDA AND THE HIGH TO OUR NORTH WILL PUT US IN QUITE THE
`SQUEEZE PLAY`...RESULTING IN STRONG GRADIENT WINDS. GIVEN THE
POSSIBILITY OF SIGNIFICANT WINDS SPREADING INLAND...HAVE ALSO ISSUED
A INLAND TROPICAL STORM WIND WATCH FOR INLAND ZONES. IT IS IMPORTANT
TO STRESS NOT TO FOCUS ON WHETHER THIS IS TROPICAL OR NON TROPICAL.
INSTEAD...PREPARE FOR THE WINDS AND POTENTIAL COASTAL FLOODING
REGARDLESS. PLEASE REFER TO OUR HURRICANE LOCAL STATEMENTS FOR
SPECIFIC INFORMATION REGARDING THE THREATS ASSOCIATED WITH IDA.

TONIGHT LOOKS MOSTLY DRY WITH JUST INCREASING CLOUDS AND WINDS AS
THE PRESSURE GRADIENT BEGINS TO TIGHTEN. REALLY RAMP UP POPS BY
TOMORROW AFTERNOON WITH ALL ZONES CATEGORICAL TOMORROW NIGHT WITH
THE STORM APPROACHING THE COAST. HEAVY RAIN CERTAINLY A THREAT WITH
TOTALS OF 2-4 INCHES WITH ISOLATED 6 INCHES POSSIBLE. SINCE FLASH
FLOOD GUIDANCE IS RATHER HIGH...HAVE DECIDED TO HOLD OFF ON A FLASH
FLOOD WATCH FOR NOW. LATEST NHC TRACK HAS THE REMNANTS OF IDA
SHIFTING EAST OF THE AREA ON TUESDAY...AND WILL FOLLOW SUIT ON
REDUCING POPS FROM WEST TO EAST THROUGH THE DAY. STUCK CLOSE TO MOS
TEMPS THROUGH PERIOD.
Member Since: 9.06.2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1510. aquak9
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:19 (GMT)
Quoting pearlandaggie:


those mimics are kinda creepy...the earth moves but the storm just sits in the middle

gotta get used to'm
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25506
1509. HaboobsRsweet
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:19 (GMT)
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Not sure whats up with that NOAA flight. Tropical Atlantic only reported the first two HDOBs. They went down towards Ida, but turned back and looks like they are going home to Tampa.


maybe just a matentice check for the plane.
Member Since: 20.05.2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
1508. HaboobsRsweet
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:18 (GMT)
Quoting portcharlotte:


When it get's into the north Gulf and goes poof you'll have plenty water to drink for the rest of the year

Better to be prepared and nothing happen than to not be prepared and SOL when power doesnt come back on and water is not deemed safe. Happened too me in VA during Isabell and the strongest wind we got was 54kts.
Member Since: 20.05.2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
1507. stormy2008
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:18 (GMT)
977.7 mb
(~ 28.87 inHg)
Member Since: 18.08.2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 215
1506. jamnkats
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:18 (GMT)
new blog
1505. nrtiwlnvragn
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:18 (GMT)
Quoting Orcasystems:
Untasked WX Mission #1 into IDA, feet wet from Tampa



Not sure whats up with that NOAA flight. Tropical Atlantic only reported the first two HDOBs. They went down towards Ida, but turned back and looks like they are going home to Tampa.
Member Since: 23.09.2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10462
1503. amd
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:17 (GMT)
I found this a bit interesting:

The latest vortex found a pressure of 977 mb due to a dropsonde report. However the same dropsonde measured winds from the NNW at 53 mph (46 kts). Wouldn't this suggest that the central pressure is actually a couple of mb's lower?

Information from that dropsonde:
Level: 977mb (28.85 inHg)
Geo. Height: Sea Level (Surface)
Air Temp.: 26.8°C (80.2°F)
Dew Point: 26.1°C (79.0°F)
Wind Direction: 330° (from the NNW)
Wind Speed: 46 knots (53 mph)
Member Since: 29.08.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
1502. BurnedAfterPosting
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:17 (GMT)
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Looks like a Louisiana landfall:



Again you are forgetting the trough is heading eastward and pushing on that ridge

No it is highly unlikely we will see a Louisiana landfall
1501. pearlandaggie
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:16 (GMT)
Member Since: 14.09.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1500. gordydunnot
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:16 (GMT)
Link Run the models of this page pretty good consensus on near term path to gulf coast, but there is something for everybody on these models fsu ones want to run the storm up the east coast after coming off Fl. but as a stronger storm than when it strikes the gulf coast one almost to NYC. Some fire up a new system pretty close to where Ida started. By the way have a nice day.
Member Since: 18.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3109
1499. MiamiHurricanes09
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:16 (GMT)
Looks like a Louisiana landfall:

Member Since: 2.09.2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1498. PcolaDan
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:15 (GMT)
Wave Heights

Member Since: 22.08.2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
1497. frostynugs
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:15 (GMT)
Quoting JupiterFL:


Sublime was the best. Too bad Crack kills.


Wasn't crack that killed brad... it was opiates.
Member Since: 25.08.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 227
1496. BurnedAfterPosting
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:15 (GMT)
I think it is hard to really pinpoint what areas get what effects

Did anyone here really feel Fay would cause the flooding she did?
1495. pearlandaggie
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:15 (GMT)
Member Since: 14.09.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1492. alaina1085
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:14 (GMT)
Quoting IKE:
Pensacola,FL. forecast....

"Monday Night
Hurricane conditions possible. Rain. Rain may be heavy at times. Lows in the mid 60s. East winds 40 to 45 mph with gusts to around 60 mph becoming 40 to 50 mph with gusts to around 70 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 90 percent.

Tuesday
Hurricane conditions possible. Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers. Near steady temperature in the mid 60s. East winds 45 to 60 mph becoming northwest 50 to 60 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 75 mph. Chance of showers 50 percent."


Get ready for the power outages for sure!
Member Since: 2.08.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
1490. aquak9
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:13 (GMT)
When I start hearing JayZee or RobZombie on TWC...guess I'll know we're doomed.
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25506
1489. pearlandaggie
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:13 (GMT)


Member Since: 14.09.2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1488. IKE
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:13 (GMT)
Pensacola,FL. forecast....

"Monday Night
Hurricane conditions possible. Rain. Rain may be heavy at times. Lows in the mid 60s. East winds 40 to 45 mph with gusts to around 60 mph becoming 40 to 50 mph with gusts to around 70 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 90 percent.

Tuesday
Hurricane conditions possible. Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers. Near steady temperature in the mid 60s. East winds 45 to 60 mph becoming northwest 50 to 60 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 75 mph. Chance of showers 50 percent."
Member Since: 9.06.2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
1487. stormsurge39
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:12 (GMT)
Quoting alaina1085:


There is but I think thats when we have the warmer SST's
ok thanks
1485. alaina1085
8. marraskuuta 2009 klo 23:11 (GMT)
Quoting stormsurge39:
Isnt there an area called the "sweet spot" in the GOM that intensefies storms? If im right, Ida looks like she is going over it!


There is but I think thats when we have the warmer SST's
Member Since: 2.08.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240

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About JeffMasters

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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