Gulf Coast eyeing Ida.
Yes, Ida keeps chugging along… and she’s doing quite a good job. After slamming into Nicaragua two days ago as a Category 1 hurricane, there was little impact on the overall structure of the system–keeping her circulation going. Of course, she did weaken significantly. Her visit to Nicaragua and Honduras was fairly brief and she entered the warmer waters of the western Caribbean. With very little wind shear to boot, that really rekindled the flame in Ida. She strengthened rapidly today. The potential for her to return to a Category 1 hurricane is there before grazing the Yucatan peninsula. After her visit to Cancun, the system will be out in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Ordinarily, that would be the worrisome part, but the Gulf water is much cooler than the area she’s in currently and high wind shear is certainly not favorable for this tropical system to develop any further. Does that mean we’re in the clear? Absolutely not! Rain in the Southeast is a given. The gulf coast has already issued Coastal Flood Advisories. If you look at the projected path, she makes a sharp right turn. A cold front will be steering her in that direction.
So it sounds like we know what’s going to happen, right? There is one big unknown… the intensity of Ida. Yes, we know it’s going to rain. Yes, we know she’s going to impact the Gulf Coast. But how strong is she going get? But wait, we said the conditions in the Gulf weren’t favorable for further intensificiation. That’s true, but what is messing with our minds is an upper level trough that Ida is going to interact with early next week. There are two scenarios:
1. The shear provided by the trough will pretty much nuke Ida’s organization and shred her to bits.
2. The upper level energy can actually intensify Ida making her an “extra-tropical” low.
If I had to pick one, I’d go with scenario #1. As a meteorologist, we have to explore all the possibilities. It’s not responsible for me to say that I’m 100% sure that she is going to weaken early next week. It’s more responsible for me to show and explain the possibilities with a significant weather event like this one.
Either way, rain is a given. When? Tuesday. Stay safe and remember: