Tropical Storm Ida has formed

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 11:31 AM CDT
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(KSLA) - Tropical Storm Ida has formed in the Caribbean. The storm will also move into the Gulf and could bring impacts to Louisiana and possibly the ArkLaTex.

Ida will strengthen in the gulf to a hurricane
Ida will strengthen in the gulf to a hurricane(KSLA News 12)

Tropical Storm Ida is still a bit disorganized, but now has a defined center that we can track. This will allow the computer models to cling on to this center of rotation and get a more reliable track of where this storm is going. Now that it’s labeled, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has released an official forecast.

Latest update is a slight shift east but still over Louisiana
Latest update is a slight shift east but still over Louisiana(KSLA News 12)

Latest forecast calls for this storm to gradually move north into the Gulf of Mexico and strengthen. Forecast as of now calls for the storm to reach Category 2 strength, but it could become even stronger. The Gulf is a “hot tub” right now, because the water is so warm. Ideally, you only need the water to be 82° for storm intensification. However, the water temperature is closer to the upper 80s. Eventually, Ida will likely only spend roughly 36 hours over the Gulf, but that’s more than enough time to strengthen.

Water temperatures in the gulf is ideal for intensification
Water temperatures in the gulf is ideal for intensification(KSLA News 12)

Landfall is projected to be around Sunday afternoon. We mostly likely could be talking about a hurricane by this time. Where the storm makes landfall is still unknown. Anywhere from Houston, Texas to Biloxi, Mississippi is in play. That puts all of the Louisiana coast on target. With that being said, the latest trends continue to shift farther east, closer to New Orleans. The forecast will likely shift back and forth over the next few days.

Ridge of high pressure determines the path of TD 9
Ridge of high pressure determines the path of TD 9(KSLA News 12)

The path Ida takes depends a lot on the ridge of high pressure to our east. If it remains stronger, it will push the storm closer to Texas or southwest Louisiana. If the high pressure weakens a bit, the storm will likely head towards southeast Louisiana. The high pressure weakening is the mostly likely scenario.

There are still a lot of unknowns, but things are getting clearer, especially now that something has formed in the Caribbean. To summarize, we know a storm is moving into the Gulf of Mexico, and will be strengthening up. It’s nearly a guarantee that this becomes a hurricane. What we do not know right now is where exactly the storm makes landfall and how strong it will be at that time. Although we have a good idea it will be in Louisiana somewhere.

We will be getting a clearer picture as time wears on, so keep checking back with the KSLA First Alert Weather Team. We will be your First Alert to all tropical weather until this threat is over. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and watch our newscasts on air and follow us online.

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