Hurricane Ida Blog - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hurricane Ida Blog: Afternoon Update

Latest Stats on Hurricane Ida:
Category 2 Hurricane
Max Sustained Winds: 105mph
Minimal Central Pressure: 979mb
Movement: NNW 12mph

Discussion:
Pleasant conditions continue to dwell across the region. Clouds are now stretching through Hattiesburg, but the temps still stay comfortable in the lower 70's.

The big story today is Hurricane Ida, and conditions will be changing greatly in the next 36 hours. As we have talked about this past week, a weak low is also moving towards South Mississippi a little ahead of Ida. So our biggest two topics include the weak low coming off of Mexico and Hurricane Ida.

The weak Low is connected to a shortwave trough building through Texas this afternoon. A slow northeastward movement into Southern Louisiana is the forecast for this system, and plenty of rain has already begun throughout TX and the NW Gulf. In the early morning on Monday SW Mississippi will first see some showers in association with this Low. But what about hurricane Ida?

Ida will also be tracking North/Northwest in the next 36 hours. (It is still uncertain the exact evolution as these two system as they near each other.) My mind sees this as being a quick One, Two, punch. "One" will be the showers Monday morning associated with the weak low coming from Mexico. The "Two" will be the impacts of Ida, but the systems will eventually tie together. Ida will drift near MS (most likely making landfall just east of Mobile), and we could see additional rain throughout Monday night. Some models suggest the system clearing quickly going into Tuesday midday/afternoon, which is something I'm looking at with a grain of salt.

My thoughts on IDA...

Intensity of Ida:
The intensity of Hurricane Ida is a very important note to make with all of us and you the viewer. Latest update shows Ida as a weak Category Two hurricane, but this is merely just the storms characteristics deep into the southern Gulf. A lot will change between now and Tuesday morning. Ida's main strength is being gained right now and for the next 12 hours. The farther North Ida travels into the Gulf then the cooler water temperatures it has to endure. Sea surface temps are currently very cool for favorable Tropical development. Also, wind shear is knocking on the west side of the storm, which hinders major growth for the whole system. (It's like running friction on a spinning top. It doesn't help the formation of the storm.)
As of now, I think the storm will very slowly decrease in strength and become a high-end Tropical Storm at landfall early Tuesday morning....which leads me to the forecast track of Ida.

Track of Ida:
It's currently heading Northwest at about 10mph. This should be the average direction because the storm will make a generic line through the center of the Gulf. But the weak low we talked about early will help turn Ida eastward starting late Monday night and into Tuesday morning. So an eastward movement is certain, but the timing is a little uncertain. Most of us agree the eastward turn will occur right at landfall east of Mobile. Early computer models wanted to show a turn before it hit the coastline, but this has become the unfavorable forecast at this point. So Hattiesburg/Laurel will be on the Northwest side of the storm. Although the possibility is still portrayed in two computer models to come right through Biloxi. (When I speak of track I'm talking about the road taken by the center of the storm.)

How will this impact us?
Clouds have already entered into the area, but we will also notice a slow increase in wind speed as the pressure gradient increases with these two systems approaching. By late Monday we could have sustained winds in the 20-30mph range. Rain will start scattered Monday morning and then heavier amounts could arrive late Monday afternoon and lasting into Tuesday morning. Expect the rain and wind to be clearing out of the area by Tuesday night.

One thing I must stress..."This is a serious threat with a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, but in the immediate Channel 7 viewing area we do not expect major damage from Hurricane Ida. Our biggest concern is the possibility of flooding and minor wind damage."

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