Hurricane Ida strengthens into a life-threatening storm overnight

After strengthening quickly over the weekend, Hurricane Ida is poised to batter Louisiana as an extremely hazardous storm. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warned that Hurricane Ida is moving towards the coast with winds up to 150 mph and a dangerous surge of water.
According to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, this hurricane will be the strongest ever to strike Louisiana since at most the 1850s.

On Saturday night, Ida had winds speeds of 103 mph. Six hours later, Ida was experiencing wind speeds of 103 mph and a major hurricane.

Because it had all the necessary ingredients to grow a hurricane, the storm was able quickly to intensify. The storm was fuelled by warm waters below the hurricane and the moisture in the atmosphere. However, the winds from the upper atmosphere favoured the hurricane and allowed it to continue developing.

In the last few years, several rapidly intensifying hurricanes have been observed. These include Harvey in 2017 and Michael in 2018. Recent studies suggest that climate change may partly be responsible for this rapid intensification. According to a recent United Nations report, storms are getting stronger as the planet heats. Researchers are also studying cyclical changes and the atmosphere that may play a part in rapid intensification. This allows them to better predict when storms such as Ida will develop.

Don't play around

On Sunday night, Ida will make landfall in Louisiana. This is the 16th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina struck the state. Ida, which is currently a Category 4 hurricane, will bring severe winds to the region. Storm surge will be a massive accumulation of water that is driven inland by the storm. Forecasters predict that waters could reach as high as 12-16 feet in some parts of Louisiana if the storm hits land at high tide. Ida could also dump between 10-18 inches of rain on the region. Some areas could receive as much as two feet, with the possibility of more flooding.

The National Weather Service office in New Orleans issued a severe warning Saturday to residents as part of its forecast discussion. This underscores the severity of the storm.