Ida Likely to Become Hurricane Later Friday
FLORIDA (August 27, 2021)—The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Ida is likely to become a hurricane before Friday is over and hurricane warnings have been posted for portions of western Cuba.
The hurricane center said Ida was already nearing minimum hurricane strength ((119 km/h)) with sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour. The storm was located about 320 kilometers east-southeast of the western tip of Cuba.
It continues to move to the northwest and is expected to pass over or near western Cuba later Friday, and over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico by late Friday and Saturday.
Hurricane warnings have been posted for Cuba’s western provinces, and watches have already been posted for parts of ((the southern U.S. states of)) Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, meaning conditions exist that make it possible for hurricane conditions to occur in that area.
Forecasters say steady to rapid strengthening is expected when Ida moves over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico in the next two days, and Ida is expected to be a major hurricane when it approaches the northern gulf coast.
Meteorologists fear the strengthening could be dramatic as the storm is forecast to move over the warmest waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The water in the area has been reported as warm as 30 degrees Celsius to a depth of 40 meters. Such extremely warm water favors rapid strengthening.
If the storm were to come ashore Sunday it would do so on the anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina came ashore in Louisiana, near New Orleans, in 2005, bringing widespread destruction and flooding. In 2020, Louisiana was hit by three major hurricanes.
Some information for this report was provided by VOA and the Associated Press news service.