Just as expected, Hurricane Ida strengthens over warm Gulf water, now a Category 2 storm

Published 2:44 pm Saturday, August 28, 2021

The National Hurricane Center reported early Saturday afternoon that Hurricane Ida had strengthened over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and is now a Category 2 hurricane.

At 1 p.m. Hurricane Ida’s maximum sustained winds had increased to approximately 100 p.m., with even higher gusts, forecasters said.

Forecasters believe Ida will continue into the central Gulf of Mexico through tonight and ultimately make landfall on the Louisiana coast on Sunday before moving inland.

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“Additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast on Sunday,” National Hurricane Center forecasters said Saturday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

Along the coast, forecasters say the storm surge from Ida could be as high as 15 feet in some areas.

Total rainfall accumulations of 8 to 16 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches are possible across southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi through Monday.