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Tropical Storm Nicholas Brings Wind and Rain to Houston

Tropical Storm Nicholas brought wind and rain to Houston on Tuesday morning. At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Nicholas was located at latitude 29.5°N and longitude 95.5°W which put it about 15 miles (25 km) south-southwest of Houston, Texas. Nicholas was moving toward the north-northeast at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were’ wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from San Luis Pass, Texas to Cameron, Louisiana. The Tropical Storm Warning included Galveston and Port Arthur.

Tropical Storm Nicholas brought gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the area around Houston on Tuesday morning. Houston Intercontinental Airport was reporting a sustained wind speed of 33 m.p.h. (54 km/h) and a wind gust of 51 m.p.h. (82 km/h). The airport was reporting moderate rain. Moderate to heavy rain was also falling over southeast Texas and the southern half of Louisiana. A band of showers and thunderstorms extended from near Port Arthur, Texas southward over the Gulf of Mexico. Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were over southern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 125 miles (200 km) on the eastern side of Nicholas’ circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 60 miles on the western side of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move slowly toward the east-northeast during the next 36 hours. The circulation around Nicholas will weaken gradually. Tropical Storm Nicholas will continue to drop locally heavy rain over southeast Texas, southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for those locations.

Nicholas Strengthens to a Hurricane near Texas Coast

Former Tropical Storm Nicholas strengthened to a hurricane near the Texas coast on Monday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Nicholas was located at latitude 28.4°N and longitude 95.8°W which put it about 45 miles (75 km) southwest of Freeport, Texas. Nicholas was moving toward the north-northeast at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were’ wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 988 mb.

A Hurricane Waring was in effect for the portion of the coast from Port O’Connor to Freeport, Texas. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Freeport to San Luis Pass, Texas. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Port Aransas to Port O’Connor, Texas and from Freeport to Sabine Pass, Texas. The Tropical Storm Warning included Galveston.

Former Tropical Storm Nicholas strengthened to a hurricane on Monday night. An upper level ridge over the Gulf of Mexico enhanced upper level divergence to the northeast of Nicholas. The enhanced upper level divergence pumped away more mass and the surface pressure at the center of Nicholas decreased to 988 mb on Monday evening. The decreased pressure increased the pressure difference and a larger pressure gradient force caused the wind speed to gradually increase to hurricane force.

The circulation around Hurricane Nicholas was still asymmetrical. Drier air was wrapping around the southern side of Nicholas’ circulation and the precipitation was falling in the north half of the hurricane. The strongest winds were occurring in the eastern half of Hurricane Nicholas. Winds to hurricane force extended out 25 miles (40 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Nicholas. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 115 miles (185 km) on the eastern side of Hurricane Nicholas. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 45 miles on the western side of the hurricane.

Hurricane Nicholas will move around the western end of a high pressure system that extends over the Gulf of Mexico. The high pressure system will steer Nicholas toward the north-northeast during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Nicholas could make landfall near Freeport, Texas in a few hours. Hurricane Nicholas will bring strong winds to the coast of Texas between Matagorda and Port Arthur. Scattered power outages are likely. Nicholas will drop heavy rain over parts of southeastern Texas and over Louisiana on Tuesday. Flash floods could occur in some locations. Southerly winds blowing on the east side of Hurricane Nicholas will push water toward the coast. Those winds could cause a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2 meters). The water level will rise along the coast of southwest Louisiana too.

Tropical Storm Nicholas Nears Texas Coast

Tropical Storm Nicholas neared the coast of Texas on Monday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Nicholas was located at latitude 26.4°N and longitude 96.8°W which put it about 140 miles (225 km) south of Port O’Connor, Texas. Nicholas was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were’ wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass, Texas. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Mouth of the Rio Grande River to Sabine Pass, Texas. The Tropical Storm Warning included Corpus Christi and Galveston.

The center of Tropical Storm Nicholas reorganized several times on Monday. Each time a new center formed farther to the north-northeast. The new centers formed on the southern sides of clusters of stronger thunderstorms. The inner end of a rainband appeared to be wrapping around the northern side of the most recent center of circulation. Other bands of stronger thunderstorms were occurring north and east of the center of Nicholas. Bands to the south and west of the center consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. The strongest winds were occurring in the eastern half of Tropical Storm Nicholas. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 115 miles (185 km) on the eastern side of Nicholas. The winds in the western half of the circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours. Nicholas will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30˚C. It will move between and upper level trough over northern Mexico and an upper level ridge over the Gulf of Mexico. The upper trough and ridge will produce southerly winds that will blow toward the top of Nicholas’ circulation. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification. The upper level low will move west and weaken during the next 12 hours. The upper level ridge will extend northwest over Tropical Storm Nicholas. When the ridge extends over Nicholas the upper level winds will weaken. When the upper level winds weaken, the vertical wind shear will decrease. Tropical Storm Nicholas will strengthen when that occurs. If a more well defined center develops and persists in the middle of Nicholas, the it could strengthen more quickly. There is a chance that Nicholas could intensify to a hurricane later on Monday.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move around the western side of a high pressure system that extends over the Gulf of Mexico. The high will steer Nicholas toward the north during the next 12 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Nicholas will approach the central coast of Texas on Monday night. Nicholas will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to coastal areas of northeast Texas on Monday night. The strongest winds and the heaviest rain will occur before the center of Tropical Storm Nicholas makes landfall. The strongest winds will occur on the eastern side of Nicholas’ circulation. Scattered power outages could occur along the Upper Texas Coast and in southwestern Louisiana. Tropical Storm Nicholas could also cause a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2 meters) along portions of the coast. Nicholas will move toward the northeast on Tuesday. Locally heavy rain will fall over Louisiana. Flash floods could occur in some locations.

Tropical Storm Nicholas Prompts Hurricane Watch for Texas

A potential threat posed by Tropical Storm Nicholas prompted the issuance of a Hurricane Watch for a portion of the Texas coast on Sunday. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Nicholas was located at latitude 22.5°N and longitude 95.5°W which put it about 260 miles (415 km) south-southeast of the Mouth of the Rio Grande River. Nicholas was moving toward the north at 2 m.p.h. (3 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were’ wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Port Aransas to Freeport, Texas. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Barra el Mezquital, Mexico to High Island Texas. The Tropical Storm Warning included Corpus Christi and Galveston. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from High Island to Sabine Pass, Texas.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Nicholas was poorly organized. There was a broad center of circulation in the middle of Nicholas. Several smaller cyclonic circulations were revolving around inside the broad center. Many of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands in the northern half of Tropical Storm Nicholas. Bands in the southern half of Nicholas consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 115 miles (185 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Tropical Storm Nicholas. The winds in the other parts of Nicholas’ circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours. Nicholas will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30˚C. It will move between and upper level low over northern Mexico and an upper level ridge over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. The upper low and ridge will produce southerly winds that will blow toward the top of Nicholas’ circulation. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification. The upper level low will move west and weaken on Monday. The upper level ridge will extend west over Tropical Storm Nicholas. When the ridge extends over Nicholas the upper level winds will weaken. When the upper level winds weaken, the vertical wind shear will decrease. Tropical Storm Nicholas will strengthen when that occurs. If a more well defined center develops in the middle of Nicholas, the it could strengthen more quickly. There is a chance that Nicholas could intensify to a hurricane later on Monday.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move around the western side of a high pressure system that extends over the Gulf of Mexico. The high will steer Nicholas toward the north-northwest during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Nicholas will approach the coast near the Mouth of the Rio Grande River on Monday. Nicholas will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to coastal areas of northern Mexico and east Texas on Monday. Tropical Storm Nicholas could also cause a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2 meters) along portions of the coast. It is possible that a new center of circulation could develop closer to the thunderstorms in the northern half of Tropical Storm Nicholas. If a new center develops farther to the north, that could increase the threat to northeastern Texas and western Louisiana.

Tropical Storm Nicholas Forms over Southwest Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Nicholas formed over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday morning. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Nicholas was located at latitude 20.5°N and longitude 94.8°W which put it about 405 miles (645 km) south-southeast of the Mouth of the Rio Grande River. Nicholas was moving toward the north-northwest at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were’ wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the portion of the coast from Barra el Mezquital, Mexico to Port Aransas, Texas. A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for the portion of the coast from Port Aransas to High Island, Texas.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance plane found sustained winds of tropical storm force in a low pressure system over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday morning and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Storm Nicholas. The circulation around Tropical Storm Nicholas was still organizing. Thunderstorms began to form near the center of Nicholas. Thunderstorms were also developing in bands revolving around the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 100 miles (160 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Tropical Storm Nicholas. The winds in the other parts of the circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours. Nicholas will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30˚C. It will move between and upper level low over northern Mexico and an upper level ridge over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. The upper low and ridge will produce south-southwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of Nicholas’ circulation. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification. The upper level winds are forecast to weaken on Monday and Tropical Storm Nicholas could strengthen more quickly when that occurs. There is a chance that Nicholas could intensify to a hurricane on Monday.

Tropical Storm Nicholas will move around the western side of a high pressure system that extends over the Gulf of Mexico. The high will steer Nicholas toward the north-northwest during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Nicholas will approach the coast near the Mouth of the Rio Grande River on Monday. Nicholas will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to coastal areas of northern Mexico and southern Texas on Monday. Tropical Storm Nicholas could also cause a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2 meters) along portions of the coast.

Hurricane Ida Crosses Western Cuba

Hurricane Ida moved across western Cuba on Friday evening. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Ida was located at latitude 23.0°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 105 miles (165 km) west of Havana, Cuba. Ida was moving toward the northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (150 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River. The Hurricane Warning included New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas. Hurricane Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from Cameron to Intracoastal City, Louisiana and from the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border. Hurricane Warnings were also in effect for the Cuba provinces of the Isle of Youth, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, and Havana. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border.

The center of Hurricane Ida passed over western Cuba on Friday evening. Even though the center of Ida was over land for several hours, weather radars in Cuba and reports from a reconnaissance plane indicated that the core of Hurricane Ida remained intact. A circular eye with a diameter of 26 miles (42 km) was at the center of Ida. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Ida. Storms near the generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away to the north of the hurricane. Winds to hurricane force extended out 25 miles (40 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Ida. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 115 miles (185 km) from the center of circulation.

Hurricane Ida will move through an environment that will be very favorable for intensification during the next 36 hours.  Hurricane Ida will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30˚C.  It will move under an upper level ridge over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend.  The winds will be weak in the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Ida will strengthen now that the center is moving over the Gulf of Mexico. Ida is likely to undergo a period of rapid intensification during the weekend that will cause it to strengthen to a major hurricane.  Ida could reach Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Sunday.

Hurricane Ida will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  The high will steer Ida toward the northwest during the next 36 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Ida is likely to approach the coast of Louisiana as a major hurricane on Sunday.  Ida will be capable of causing major damage when it approaches the coast. It could cause a storm surge of up to 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters). A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for the coast from west of Vermillion Bay to the Mississippi/Alabama border. The Storm Surge Warning includes Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas. Hurricane Ida could start to move more slowly when it nears the coast on Sunday. That could prolong the duration of strong winds. Widespread power outages could occur in southeast Louisiana. Ida will also drop heavy rain over parts of eastern Louisiana and Mississippi. Flash floods could occur in that region. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been announced for parts of southeastern Louisiana. Ida probably will not be as strong or as large as Hurricane Laura was last year.  Ida could be a little bigger and a little stronger than Hurricane Delta was when it approached Louisiana in 2020. Ida is likely to be bigger and strong than Hurricane Zeta was when Zeta hit the same part of Louisiana in 2020.

Ida Rapidly Intensifies to a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Ida rapidly intensified to a hurricane early on Friday afternoon near the Isle of Youth, Cuba. At 1:10 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Ida was located at latitude 21.4°N and longitude 82.4°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) east-southeast of the Isle of Youth, Cuba. Ida was moving toward the northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 987 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border. The Hurricane Watch included New Orleans, Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Maurepas. Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the Cuba provinces of the Isle of Youth, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Tropical Storm Warnings were also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, and Havana. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border.

A U.S. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter plane flying through former Tropical Storm Ida early on Friday afternoon found that Ida had strengthened to a hurricane. The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the center of Ida and an eye was apparent on weather radars in Cuba. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Storms near the core of Ida generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the hurricane. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Ida. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 90 miles (145 km) from the center of Ida.

Hurricane Ida will move through an environment that will be increasingly favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  Hurricane Ida will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30˚C.  Ida will move across the Isle of Youth and western Cuba during the next 12 hours. The intensification process is likely to slow when the center of Ida is over land and Ida could even weaken a little.  An upper level ridge will be over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend.  The winds will be weak in the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Ida will strengthen when the center moves over the Gulf of Mexico. Ida is likely to undergo a period of rapid intensification during the weekend that will cause it to strengthen to a major hurricane.  Ida could reach Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Sunday.

Hurricane Ida will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  The high will steer Ida toward the northwest during the next 48 hours.  As mentioned above, on its anticipated track Tropical Storm Ida will move across the Isle of Youth and western Cuba on during the next 12 hours. Ida will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to western Cuba. Ida is likely to approach the coast of Louisiana as a major hurricane on Sunday.  Ida will be capable of causing major damage when it approaches the coast. It could cause a storm surge of up to 10 to 14 feet (3 to 4 meters). A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast from Sabine Pass to the Alabama/Florida border. The Storm Surge Watch includes Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Mobile Bay. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been announced for parts of southeastern Louisiana. Ida probably will not be as strong or as large as Hurricane Laura was last year.  Ida could be a little bigger and a little stronger than Hurricane Delta was when it approached Louisiana in 2020.

Tropical Storm Ida Strengthens

Reconnaissance planes found Friday morning that Tropical Storm Ida had strengthened over the Northwest Caribbean Sea. At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Ida was located at latitude 20.3°N and longitude 81.7°W which put it about 115 miles (185 km) southeast of the Isle of Youth, Cuba. Ida was moving toward the northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border. The Hurricane Watch included New Orleans, Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Maurepas. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cayman Islands. Tropical Storm Warnings were also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border.

Two reconnaissance planes flying through Tropical Storm Ida on Friday morning found that the sustained wind speed had increased and the minimum surface pressure had decreased. The planes also found that the circulation around Ida was more organized.  Thunderstorms were forming near the center of Ida.  Storms near the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the tropical storm.  The removal of mass was causing the surface pressure to decrease.  The decreasing pressure resulted in the generation of more force which produced higher wind speeds.  More thunderstorms were also forming in bands revolving around the center of Tropical Storm Ida. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 80 miles (130 km) from the center of Ida.

Tropical Storm Ida will move into an environment that will become increasingly favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  An upper level low over the southeast U.S. was producing southerly winds that were blowing toward the top of Ida’s circulation.  Those winds were causing some vertical wind shear.  However, the upper low was moving away from Ida and the low was weakening.  The wind shear will decrease as the upper low weakens.  Tropical Storm Ida will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30˚C.  Ida will continue to intensify today.  Tropical Storm Ida could strengthen to a hurricane during the next 24 hours. Ida will move across western Cuba this evening, which could briefly slow the intensification process.  An upper level ridge will be over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend.  The winds will be weak in the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Ida is likely to undergo a period of rapid intensification during the weekend that will cause it to strengthen to a major hurricane.  Ida could reach Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Ida will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system that extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  The high will steer Ida toward the northwest during the next 48 hours.  As mentioned above, on its anticipated track Tropical Storm Ida will move across western Cuba on Friday evening. Ida will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to western Cuba. Ida is likely to approach the coast of Louisiana as a major hurricane on Sunday.  Ida will be capable of causing major damage when it approaches the coast. It could cause a storm surge of up to 10 to 14 feet (3 to 4 meters). A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast from Sabine Pass to the Alabama/Florida border. The Storm Surge Watch includes Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Mobile Bay. Ida probably will not be as strong or as large as Hurricane Laura was last year.  Ida could be a little bigger and a little stronger than Hurricane Delta was when it approached Louisiana in 2020.

Tropical Storm Ida Prompts Hurricane Watch for Louisiana and Mississippi

The threat posed by Tropical Storm Ida prompted the issuance of a Hurricane Watch for the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi on Thursday night. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Ida was located at latitude 18.6°N and longitude 80.5°W which put it about 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Grand Cayman. Ida was moving toward the northwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (65 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was issued for the portion of the coast from Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border. The Hurricane Watch included New Orleans, Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Maurepas. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cayman Islands. Tropical Storm Warnings were also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Ida was gradually becoming more organized. A few more thunderstorms were beginning to develop near the center of Ida. A rainband was wrapping around the eastern and northern sides of the center of circulation. However, the distribution of thunderstorms was still asymmetrical. The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands forming on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Ida. An upper level low near Florida was producing south-southwesterly winds that were blowing over the western side of Ida’s circulation. Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they were contributing to the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms. Wind to tropical storm force extended out 70 miles (110 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Tropical Storm Ida. The winds in the other parts of Ida’s circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.

Tropical Storm Ida will move around the southwestern part of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean during the next several days. The high will steer Ida toward the northwest. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Ida will move over the Cayman Islands during the next few hours. Ida could be near western Cuba on Friday evening. Tropical Storm Ida will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the Cayman Islands and parts of western Cuba. Ida will move over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend. It could approach the central coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Ida will move into an environment that will become more favorable for intensification during the next 60 hours. The upper low near Florida will move off to the northwest and it will weaken. When the upper low weakens, they vertical wind shear will decrease. Ida will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30°C. Ida is likely to strengthen to a hurricane during the next 36 hours. An upper level ridge will be over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend. The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Ida could intensify rapidly once an inner core with an eye and an eyewall develop. Ida could rapidly intensify to a major hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico.

On its anticipated track Ida could approach the coast of Louisiana on Sunday. Ida could be a major hurricane when it nears the coast. Ida will bring strong winds and locally heavy rain to the central Gulf Coast. It could generate a significant storm surge of up to 7 to 11 feet (2 to 3.3 meters). A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the coast from Sabine Pass to the Alabama/Florida border. The Storm Surge Watch includes Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Mobile Bay.

Tropical Depression Nine Strengthens to Tropical Storm Ida

Former Tropical Depression Nine strengthened to Tropical Storm Ida late on Thursday afternoon. At 5:20 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Ida was located at latitude 18.0°N and longitude 79.8°W which put it about 130 miles (205 km) southeast of Grand Cayman. Ida was moving toward the northwest at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (65 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cayman Islands. Tropical Storm Warnings were also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.

A reconnaissance flight into former Tropical Depression Nine by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter plane on Thursday afternoon found sustained winds to tropical storm force and the National Hurricane Center upgraded the system to Tropical Storm Ida. The circulation around Tropical Storm Ida was gradually becoming more organized. A rainband was wrapping around the eastern and northern sides of the center of Ida. However, the distribution of thunderstorms was still asymmetrical. The strongest thunderstorms were occurring in bands forming on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Ida. An upper level low near Florida was producing south-southwesterly winds that were blowing over the western side of Ida’s circulation. Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they were contributing to the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.

Tropical Storm Ida will move around the southwestern part of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean during the next several days. The high will steer Ida toward the northwest. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Ida will move over the Cayman Islands on Thursday night. Ida could be near western Cuba on Friday evening. Tropical Storm Ida will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the Cayman Islands and parts of western Cuba. Ida will move over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend. It could approach the central coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Ida will move into an environment that will become more favorable for intensification during the next 72 hours. The upper low near Florida will move off to the northwest and it will weaken. When the upper low weakens, they vertical wind shear will decrease. Ida will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30°C. Ida could strengthen to a hurricane during the next 36 hours. An upper level ridge will be over the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend. The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear. Ida could intensify rapidly once an inner core with an eye and an eyewall develop. Ida could rapidly intensify to a major hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico.

On its anticipated track Ida could approach the coast of Louisiana on Sunday. Ida could be a major hurricane when it nears the coast. Ida will bring strong winds and locally heavy rain to the central Gulf Coast. It could generate a significant storm surge.