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Ida moves out of Louisiana – gusty winds and flooding rain spreading inland

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The peak winds in what’s now Tropical Storm Ida have died down dramatically, but they are high enough to bring down trees in the saturated earth. Relentless rain will continue over parts of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and across the South as feeder bands rotate up into the circulation. About 6 inches of additional rain is forecast.

The left side of Ida is quite dry with much less wind. The moisture is being pulled up and wrapping around the right side of the center.

Ida will drag that tropical moisture in an arc across Tennessee and into the Northeast and New England over the next few days. Flooding is likely in some areas. There is a long history of dying hurricanes producing catastrophic flooding in mountainous terrain. The big cities of the Northeast might get 2 to 4 inches of rain.

Ida made an unfortunate major wobble to the right yesterday just as it was approaching the New Orleans metropolitan area. That shift put the eye closer to the city, and therefore the winds were higher as the strong bands rotated through.

Even though the winds were only about Category 2 strength, they wreaked havoc on the electrical grid in Louisiana. Clearly they are going to have to look hard at why the failures were so extreme and widespread. The winds also drove water into many neighborhoods outside of the city, which will only slowly recede.

There is damage across the region, but the extent won’t be clear until later today.

Elsewhere in the tropics, there are new systems in the works. For now, it looks like they will stay far away from Florida.

Tropical Storm Julian has transformed into a winter-type storm, so we no longer track it on the tropical weather map. In any case, it’s tracking into oblivion in the North Atlantic.

Tropical Depression Ten is drifting to the north into the central Atlantic. It is forecast to eventually reach tropical storm strength, but will stay away from land.

Over the next few days, a disturbance might develop in Development Zone #1. The long-range computer forecast models show it tracking very close to the Central American coast. But nothing is certain, of course, until we see where it forms. If it does.

A tropical storm and, eventually, possibly a strong hurricane is expected to form in Development Zone #2 from a robust disturbance near the African coast. The consensus of the computer forecast models at this point is that it will turn north toward the central Atlantic, but the long-term track is not 100% clear. It will be a system to watch for some time.

Tropical Depression Ten and the new African system are in a competition to see which can develop into a tropical storm first. Whichever does, it will be named Kate. The next name is Larry.

Nothing else appears imminent over the next several days.


About the Author:

Bryan Norcross is currently a hurricane specialist at Local 10 News, the station where he began his stretch on television in Miami in 1983.