In 2005 a documentary drama entitled Oil Storm depicted a category four hurricane named ‘Julia’ making landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Although this fictitious event portrayed significant damage and disruption, in reality Port Fourchon has survived several major events. We hope the reality holds good over fiction as IDA is now making landfall as depicted over Port Fourchon. In the last hour, a reconnaissance aircraft buzzed the eye and reported a slight weakening as the eyewall replacement cycle caused a slight wobble. This may be good news from an intensity viewpoint, but may also spread the windfield over a wider radius. A mixed blessing. IDA is a very powerful hurricane indeed. Despite the wobble, IDA is peaking close to category five with a hurricane severity index rating of 30 out of 50 (10 for size and 20 for intensity) which equates to winds gusting almost 160 knots and a windfield radius of 150 miles. Hurricane force winds are already impacting New Orleans, with Baton Rouge to follow. Industrial quantities of rain are expected across southern to central Mississippi extending north into Tennessee. While the heaviest rains are likely across southeast Louisiana and south-western Mississippi – where up to 15 inches is expected, up to a foot of rain could fall as far north as central Mississippi. Catastrophic wind and tidal surge damage is expected near Port Fourchon. This is a beastly storm.

Disturbance Thirty Seven is a weak trough of low pressure off the coast of North Carolina. This is expected to drift southeast over the next few days but as things stand, is unlikely to develop.

Tropical Depression Ten is about 800 miles east-nor’east of the Lesser Antilles. This system remains quite weak due to high wind shear. A general northward track is expected which will probably keep the system out to sea and away from land with little prospect of development.

Tropical Depression Eleven has just upgraded to tropical storm JULIAN, 900 miles west of the Azores. This is expected to be short-lived before it accelerates into the northern Atlantic without threat to land.

Stand by for a powerful landfall from IDA.

Image NASA