Ida is expected to gain strength as he heads to Louisiana.

After having “wavered”, as the National Hurricane Center Let’s put it late Thursday, Ida resumed a more stable northwesterly course on ...

After having “wavered”, as the National Hurricane Center Let’s put it late Thursday, Ida resumed a more stable northwesterly course on Friday, indeed guided by a ridge of high pressure air off the southeastern United States.

Forecasters say the ridge is expected to move westward, which should keep the storm on this general track throughout the weekend, crossing the Gulf of Mexico and most likely touching Louisiana on Sunday evening.

Ida had maximum sustained winds of nearly 65 miles per hour at noon on Friday and is expected to become a hurricane, with winds above 73 mph, as it approaches western Cuba.

The crucial question, for residents and emergency authorities along the Gulf Coast, is how much stronger it will become in the days following its passage in Cuba and before it arrives ashore.

The hurricane center said the storm is expected to strengthen steadily through Saturday, but after that it could get much stronger very quickly. Ida could become a major hurricane – defined as Category 3 or higher, with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph – within 24 hours of landing.

Research over the past decade found that on average, such rapid intensification of hurricanes is increasing, in part because the oceans, which provide the energy for hurricanes, are warming due to human-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The center of the hurricane defines rapid intensification as an increase of at least 35 mph in sustained winds over 24 hours. During the extremely active 2020 season, Hurricane Laura intensified 45 mph in 24 hours before making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm in late August.

The Gulf of Mexico is currently very hot, as it is normally towards the end of summer, so there is more energy to power Ida. Wind shear, or changes in wind speed and direction, that affected Ida’s cyclonic structure, is also expected to dissipate. The storm should then organize itself, which will allow it to strengthen more quickly.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Ida is expected to gain strength as he heads to Louisiana.
Ida is expected to gain strength as he heads to Louisiana.
Newsrust - US Top News
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