Weather Forecast Adjusted, Punishing Storm Now Barreling Toward Gulf Coast


Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico is projected to be a category 4 major storm when it makes landfall on Sunday near New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.

Ida briefly made landfall Friday over the western portion of Cuba before emerging back into the open ocean with nothing to stop it from intensifying.

Water surface temperatures in Ida’s projected path are sultry.

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Warm waters are fuel for tropical cyclones which are not challenged by heavy wind shear. The waters between the center of Ida and the Louisiana coast are up to 88 degrees, and the storm is moving fast and unopposed, meaning there is little time to prepare as it straightens.

WDSU-TV reported mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been announced across southeast Louisiana.

Terrebonne Parish, which now is the expected landing spot for Ida, is asking people to leave to avoid dangerous winds and a protected deadly storm surge. Most deaths that occur during hurricanes are from water, and not wind.

Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove asked people to abide by the mandatory evacuation order.

“Terrebonne Parish is as prepared for the impacts of this storm as we can be,” Dove stated. “Nevertheless, given the projected strength and storm surge of Hurricane Ida, we must ask residents to evacuate for their safety.”

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“We will continue to monitor the situation during the storm and provide critical information concerning developments that impact the parish and public safety during the storm,” Dove added.

If Ida makes landfall in Louisiana as predicted, with the punch that is expected, people in its path could be in for a long week, even if they avoid the storm surge. Power outages could leave entire areas without electricity in the middle of summer. States in the region are already under heat advisories.

Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday asked people in Ida’s path to prepare ahead of time.

“Now is the time to finish your preparations, and I want to encourage everyone that by nightfall [Saturday], you need to be where you intend to be to ride out the storm,” Edwards said, The Advocate reported.

Ida’s area of destruction is vast, as WVUE-TV meteorologist David Bernard pointed out on Twitter.

People leaving New Orleans who experienced Hurricane Katrina in 2005 are being met by a familiar foe: traffic.

Democratic New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has asked everyone in the city who lives outside of the levee system to leave.

“The city cannot order a mandatory evacuation because we don’t have the time,” Cantrell said, The Associated Press reported.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.