RICHMOND, Va. -- The life cycle of Ida has been a very rapid one. A cluster of clouds southwest of Jamaica became a tropical depression Thursday morning, and then a tropical storm a few hours later. By late Friday morning, it had strengthened into a hurricane.
It is now located in the southeastern Gulf Of Mexico, and is tracking to the northwest. The storm will move over ocean water that turns warmer closer to the Gulf Coast. The very warm water and lack of any major wind shear will allow Ida to become a major hurricane. Major hurricanes are category 3 or higher, with winds over 110 mph.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting winds of 130 mph or stronger when Ida makes landfall late Sunday. If winds reach 157 mph, it will become a category 5 hurricane.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for the majority of Louisiana. Besides the strong winds, rainfall could exceed 15 inches, and the storm surge could be 10 to 15 feet above the normal ocean water levels.
The forecast landfall will be the central Louisiana coast, southeast of Morgan City. The front right quadrant of a hurricane is the strongest, so central and eastern Louisiana (including New Orleans) will get the highest impact.
Once Ida moves inland, it will track to the northeast and weaken. The remnants will reach our area late Wednesday. At that point, it will just be an area of low pressure with some rain.
The latest updates on Ida can be found in the CBS 6 Interactive Tropical Tracker.
An interesting note, hurricane names that begin with the letter "I" have been retired most often. A name is retired if the storm has an enormous impact on life and property. The peak of hurricane season is typically around September 10th, which coincides with the "I" name in many years. Nine of those storms have occurred since 2001.
Four of those storms have impacted Virginia. August 27 marked the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene in Virginia.
Stay With CBS 6, The Weather Authority.
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