Hurricane Ida now has winds of 150 mph and is approaching Category 5 strength, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said in a 6 a.m. update. Category 5 storms have winds of 157 mph or greater.
The storm is forecast to make landfall later Sunday, which also is the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
“Life-threatening storm surge, potentially catastrophic wind damage and flooding rainfall” will start Sunday morning on the Gulf Coast, forecasters warned.
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Storm surge estimates for Hurricane Ida have increased in the latest update. Now, forecasters said, the storm could push up to 16 feet of water from Port Fourchon to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Rain estimates have increased as well, with up to 24 inches now possible in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
Warnings related to Hurricane Ida are in effect for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. New Orleans is under a hurricane warning.
Where is Hurricane Ida?
As of 6 a.m., Hurricane Ida was about about 75 miles southeast of Grand Isle and about 60 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
It’s moving northwest at 15 mph.
The NOAA Hurricane Hunters found sustained winds have increased to 150 mph with higher gusts as of 6 a.m.
The powerful winds are expected to reach Louisiana’s coast Sunday morning and spread north. As of 6 a.m., a weather station in Southwest Pass reported a sustained wind of 82 mph and a gust to 107 mph.
Hurricane Ida is expected to make landfall on the southeast Louisiana coast Sunday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, forecasters say.
On the forecast track, the center of Ida will continue moving across the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday morning and will make landfall along the coast of southeastern Louisiana within the hurricane warning area Sunday afternoon or evening.
Ida is then forecast to move inland over portions of Louisiana and western Mississippi on Monday and Monday night.
Rapid weakening is expected after landfall.
Forecasters increased the storm surge estimates for Hurricane Ida. Now, they said, the storm could push up to 16 feet of storm surge from Port Fourchon to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Life-threatening storm surge expected
Hurricane Ida is expected to bring up to 24 inches of rain to parts of southeast Louisiana and push a storm surge of 16 feet in some places.
Here’s a look at the current forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
Up to 16 feet of storm surge
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline, forecasters said.
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.
The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.
- Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to mouth of the Mississippi River: 12-16 feet
- Morgan City, Louisiana, to Port Fourchon: 8-12 feet
- Mouth of the Mississippi River to Bay St. Louis, Miss., including Lake Borgne: 8-12 feet
- Burns Point, Louisiana, to Morgan City, Louisiana: 6-9 feet
- Bay St. Louis to Ocean Springs, Miss.: 6-9 feet
- Lake Pontchartrain: 5-8 feet
- Ocean Springs to MS/AL border: 4-7 feet
- Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Burns Point, including Vermilion Bay: 4-6 feet
- Lake Maurepas: 4-6 feet
- Pecan Island, Louisiana, to Intracoastal City: 2-4 feet
- MS/AL border to AL/FL border including Mobile Bay: 3-5 feet
- Sabine Pass to Pecan Island: 1-3 feet
- AL/FL border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line including Pensacola Bay: 1-3 feet
Up to 24 inches of rain
Up to 24 inches of rain could fall through Monday in southeast Louisiana and south Alabama, forecasters said.
The heavy rainfall is likely to result in considerable flash, urban, small stream and riverine flooding, forecasters said.
Heavy rainfall from Ida will begin to impact the southeast Louisiana coast Sunday morning, spreading northeast into the Lower Mississippi Valley later Monday into Monday.
Category 4 winds will cause catastrophic damage, hurricane forecasters said.
Total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 18 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 24 inches are possible across southeast Louisiana into far southern Mississippi through Monday.
Ida is forecast to turn to the northeast early Monday and track across the Middle Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley through Wednesday, producing the following rainfall totals:
- Coastal Alabama to the far western Florida panhandle: 5 to 10 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches, today through Tuesday morning.
- Central Mississippi: 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches, tonight through Monday night.
- Middle Tennessee Valley to the Ohio Valley: 3 to 6 inches with isolated higher amounts, Tuesday into Wednesday.
Watches and warnings in effect
A storm surge warning is in effect for:
- East of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, to the Alabama/Florida border
- Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Mobile Bay
A hurricane warning is in effect for:
- Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to the Mouth of the Pearl River
- Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans
A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
- Cameron, Louisiana, to west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana
- Mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border