Ida lashing the Gulf Coast; no change in strength

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:16 AM GMT on November 10, 2009

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Tropical Storm Ida is pounding the coasts of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle with high winds, huge waves, and heavy rain. At 6 pm EST, the Mobile, AL NWS office reported that coastal flooding had begun on Dauphin Island and at Fort Pickens in the Florida Panhandle. Surf heights of 5 - 8' are expected tonight on Dauphin Island as Ida storms ashore, and heights of 10 - 15' are possible from Fort Morgan, Alabama to Destin, Florida. Sustained winds of 40 mph were reported at buoy 42007 22 nm miles south of Biloxi, MS at 4:50 pm EST, and winds of 40 mph, gusting to 51 mph, were recorded at Dauphin Island, AL, at 7:06 pm EST.


Figure 1. Estimated precipitation from the Mobile, AL radar shows that up to four inches of rain has fallen over the Louisiana bird's foot of the Mississippi River. Heavy rains are falling in MS, AL, and FL, and will exceed four inches in many locations.

The highest surface winds seen by the Hurricane Hunters since 3 pm have been 70 mph. Infrared satellite loops show that the big thunderstorm blow-up responsible for the small patch of hurricane-force winds recorded at 3 pm this afternoon has waned, and it is unlikely Ida has any hurricane-force winds.

The intensity forecast for Ida
There is no change to the intensity forecast for Ida. The high wind shear of 40 knots currently affecting the storm is forecast to increase to 50 knots by midnight, when the center of Ida should be crossing the coast. With Ida now over waters near 24°C, some weakening is to be expected before landfall. We can't rule out the possibility of an isolated tornado when Ida makes landfall, but the Storm Prediction Center Discussion maintains that the airmass in place over the Gulf Coast is relatively stable, and prospects for an appreciable severe weather threat appear low. Winds of tropical storm force will be extend from Southeast Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle (Figure 2), but will not extend very far inland.


Figure 2. Cumulative wind forecast for Ida, issued by the HWRF model at 1 pm EDT today, 11/09/09. The HWRF forecasts that winds in excess of 50 knots (58 mph, dark green colors) will affect a swath of ocean from the tip of the Louisiana bird's foot to the coast near Alabama. Tropical storm force winds of 34 - 50 knots (39 - 57 mph) will affect a larger region, but will not penetrate very far inland. Image credit: NOAA/GFDL.

The storm surge forecast for Ida
Tides are almost 5.0' above normal at Shell Beach, LA (on the east side of New Orleans), 2.2 feet above normal at Dauphin Island, AL, and 1.7 feet above normal at Pensacola, FL (Figure 3). NHC is calling for a storm surge of 3 - 5 feet above ground level, which is a reasonable forecast even if Ida weakens further. A large stretch of coast will be subject to very high water levels for an extended period of time today and tomorrow, with battering waves on top of the surge likely to cause a significant coastal erosion event.




Figure 3. Observed vs. predicted water levels at three coastal stations. Top: Shell Beach, LA (just east of New Orleans); middle: Dauphin Island, Alabama; bottom: Pensacola, FL. The green line shows how high above normal the water is. For Shell Beach, it was 4.9 feet above normal at 6 pm CST, 2.2 feet at Dauphin Island, and 1.7 feet at Pensacola. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Links to follow:
U.S. Severe Weather Page
Wundermap for the Gulf Coast of Alabama.
Long-range radar out of New Orleans, LA.
Coastal observations from the University of South Alabama.
Coastal observations from LSU.

Update on portlight.org charity errorts
The portlight.org disaster relief charity is gearing up to respond to any disaster needs from Tropical Storm Ida, and has sent a self-sufficient kitchen capable of serving 2000 meals per day to the Florida Panhandle region. They have another mobile kitchen ready to respond, if needed, as well as a truck filled with durable medical equipment and clinical/surgical supplies. Donations are welcome!

I'll have an update Tuesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting SouthALWX:

quite possible. The deteriorating LLC may never come ashore.


that is fine with me just as long as the rain stops!..lol
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 133 Comments: 20645
Buckets of rain and wind here on the west side of P-cola, about 4 miles from Perdido Key. That's as scientific as I can get.
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Quoting BiloxiGirl:
Ok local news is now saying it may never make landfall. Huh?

quite possible. The deteriorating LLC may never come ashore.
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
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Ok local news is now saying it may never make landfall. Huh?
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Yes
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
anyone seen ike this evening
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Visually the wind appears to be se at dauphin island
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It just continues to pile in in SW AL and Pcola area. When will it end?
Quoting AllyBama:
WatsonWorld, Grand Bay, Alabama (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago

65.6 F
Rain
Humidity: 100%
Dew Point: 66 F
Wind: 0.0 mphfrom the NNW

Wind Gust: 28.0 mph
Pressure: 29.76 in (Rising)


The dew point is either rounded off or it is higher than the temperature! o_O
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we are getting everything in waves...get about 15 minutes of downpour and strong winds then backs off for a few then comes back again.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640


Station PTBM6 - 8741003 - Petit Bois Island, MS
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485.

Just in time to add to the tide situation.


Station SHBL1 - 8761305 - Shell Beach, LA

Conditions at SHBL1 as of
(9:42 pm CST on 11/09/2009)
0342 GMT on 11/10/2009:
Unit of Measure: Time Zone:

Click on the graph icon in the table below to see a time series plot of the last five days of that observation.
5-day plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): N ( 360 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 34.0 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 42.9 kts
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.77 in
5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 66.6 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 67.5 °F
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482.

Yes it is. And my rain gauge decided to stop communicating with the control panel today. Perfect timing.
Tides peaked at 5 ft above normal at Shell Beach,Impressive
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483

You check ob from daulphin island...upper level winds at 4K feet for HH was 104 degrees.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
Quoting jipmg:
Guys seriously, aren't you being a little optimistic, its a naked swirl now..

doesn't matter. I expected and forecasted that couple days ago. what's important is the pressure gradient. Ida, imo, was never a threat as a tropical system. As an extratropical low with an approaching front and associated high, if the pressure remains low the winds could still cause an issue and for an extended period of time. Ida needed to tap the energy associated with the approaching front and it looks like she's doing it atleast to some degree... "Ida" is no longer a threat ... what's left of her merging into a nontropical low is. ( to some degree )
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
478.

Well maybe they are finally going to make it on shore. so far no reports of S wind in AL.
Man,,that right semi Circle is really Blowing up in convective Banding.

Thats gonna bring a lotta rain to somebody tonight.

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KPQL just jumped from 27kts to 38kts.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
480. jipmg
it must be very cold in new orleans, that strong wind plus temps into the mid 60s..
WatsonWorld, Grand Bay, Alabama (PWS)
Updated: 1 sec ago

65.6 °F
Rain
Humidity: 100%
Dew Point: 66 °F
Wind: 0.0 mphfrom the NNW

Wind Gust: 28.0 mph
Pressure: 29.76 in (Rising)

Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 133 Comments: 20645
actually looking at the HH track again the whole NE side is showing a SE wind when it flew over there over the water just south of AL.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
Lowest pressures seem to be on the Mississippi Coast...

Pascagoula 29.81 in
Keesler AFB 29.80 in
Gulfport 29.82 in

my weather station has 29.81 in and weather stations around the area are in the same ball park.
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anyone seen ike this evening
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Quoting SouthALWX:
http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sfc_con_pres.html
check out the building high pressure .. that will only further the increase in winds ... Ida isn't,imo, purely tropical anymore and it could be more detrimental that way as baroclinic forcing becomes more of a player in the outcome... the longer Ida maintains a somewhat lower pressure and is just offshore, that high has plans to tighten up that gradient looks like ...


Thats the way Ida seems to be going and the Beaches are gonna get that south Wind tomorrow too,and areas inland some
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463.

I am aware there are S winds off shore. however, there has been an absence of S winds all night on the East side of the storm which is very unusual. The E and NE Quads have had winds 010 - 060.
More erosion.... Link
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472. jipmg
Guys seriously, aren't you being a little optimistic, its a naked swirl now..
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what kind of winds you seeing gptguy?
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
Beach Erosion Destin Link
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http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sfc_con_pres.html
check out the building high pressure .. that will only further the increase in winds ... Ida isn't,imo, purely tropical anymore and it could be more detrimental that way as baroclinic forcing becomes more of a player in the outcome... the longer Ida maintains a somewhat lower pressure and is just offshore, that high has plans to tighten up that gradient looks like ...
edit: http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sfc_con_wspd.html expanding windfield.
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497
HH just turned and headed for another pass in the middle. Should go right through NW side where it found that 73mph wind last time. Should be intersting. Man i got to get to bed haha. I have to get up for work in less than 6 hours
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
man this is intersting...everything is picking up here. Seems like Biloxi is also picking up. Still think we havent seen the max winds yet and when high tide hits things can get wet.


Yea picking up too here in Lyman...pressure on my weather station dropping fast and winds really picking up
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Quoting MisipiGrl:
From Long Beach, MS, one block off of the beach: Winds gusting to 55mph, out of the south east. Very little rain right now.


Seems about right for the center of circ at Cat and Ship Island... and it is definitely NNE here.
Member Since: June 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 17
Quoting iluvjess:


Inland?

Nope way out to sea still. It will be awhile before we see a shift in MS. At least a few hours if not more. The center has kinda stalled out a bit and everything north is seeing winds from 350-040.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
For the one looking for South winds the HH is flying through south winds now.


Inland?
Quoting SouthALWX:
pat.. as I said earlier .. I think its' upticking due to baroclinic forcing.. almost looks like a maturing mid latitude cyclone .. cusping out.



Sure looks like you said above now..the forcing must be the driver.

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man this is intersting...everything is picking up here. Seems like Biloxi is also picking up. Still think we havent seen the max winds yet and when high tide hits things can get wet.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
452.

Reflects some E component as compared to same radar from an hour ago.
NEXRAD Radar
Mobile, Velocity Azimuth Display Wind Profile Range 124 NMI

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For the one looking for South winds the HH is flying through south winds now.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
42007 (22 nm SE of Biloxi) just got to TS-force sustained:
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
got my fingers crossed water keeps moving in ditches and doesnt overflow. love the drainage system in MS.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
447.

Still a lack of S wind anywhere that I can find. Very odd.
pat.. as I said earlier .. I think its' upticking due to baroclinic forcing.. almost looks like a maturing mid latitude cyclone .. cusping out.
Member Since: August 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1497

NEXRAD Radar
Mobile, Storm Relative Mean Radial Velocity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI


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443. thats a kool graphic keeper, you gotta link to see it live?
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I dont have an official ob up here but I would be surprised if we werent pushing TS strengh winds. It is really blowing right now. Another else in MS feeling this?
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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