Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Heavy rain from TS Ida coming ashore

Heavy rain began pounding the gulf coast this afternoon as Tropical Storm Ida started to come ashore. Radar (see earlier posts below) show that teh heavy rain is to the north and east of the eye which means that the heaviest rain is already on shore increasing the potential for coastal flooding.

Tropical Storm Ida continues to move northward toward the Gulf coast at around 18 mph. As of 6 pm CST Monday the center of Ida was located about 40 miles to the east-southeast of the Mouth of the Mississippi River or about 125 miles south of Mobile, AL. Top winds remain near 70 mph but weakening is expected through tonight.

A turn to the north has already begun, followed by a turn to the northeast overnight. The current forecast brings Ida into the northern Gulf Coast early Tuesday. Tropical storm warnings are in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana east to the Aucilla River in Florida.

Residents of southern Alabama, southeast Mississippi, extreme southeast Louisiana, and the western Florida Panhandle should expect sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph and gusts of 50 to 60 mph overnight into early Tuesday. Some power outages are possible in these areas.

The winds produced by Ida Sunday and earlier today built up the surf over the central Gulf of Mexico. Those waves should fan out impacting the central Gulf coast and much of the Texas coast through Tuesday.

Maximum wave heights of 10 to 15 feet are possible from Mobile Bay east to Apalachicola, Florida and in the Florida Keys, while 6 to 10 foot waves are anticipated from Freeport, Texas south to Brownsville, Texas, from Mobile Bay west to Pascagoula, Mississippi, from Apalachicola northeast to Saint George Island, Florida and along the east coast of Florida from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach. The waves along the east coast of Florida are not directly related to Ida, but due to the pressure difference between Ida and a high pressure system near Bermuda.

The major concern is flooding with heavy rain and flood watches and warnings extending from the Alabama coast all the way into North Carolina. Flood warnings are in effect in the Atlanta metro area from 3 am Tuesday and stay in effect until Wednesday morning.

Ida weakened to a tropical storm earlier today as cooler water and upper-level shearing winds took their toll on the cyclone.

Despite the weakening trend, Ida will still produce widespread coastal flooding due to storm surge and high tides through this evening from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Tropical storm-force winds will also cause some minor tree damage closer to the coast through tonight, which could lead to some power outages.

--snip--

The heavy rainfall from the Gulf Coast through the Carolinas will lead to widespread flash flooding through Tuesday, as the ground is still fairly saturated, especially from Alabama through Georgia.

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather

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