Light wind shear limited Ida to slow strengthening overnight on the 26th into the 27th (Friday) as the system moved through the Cayman Islands. However, during the morning hours on Friday, Ida rapidly strengthened and officially became a hurricane during the early afternoon just south of western Cuba. On Friday evening into the overnight, Hurricane Ida passed through western Cuba as a Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. In the 24 hours leading up to landfall in western Cuba, Ida’s maximum sustained winds increased from tropical depression strength at 35 mph to Category 1 hurricane strength at 80 mph, a 45-mph increase.
Land interactions with western Cuba caused Ida to stop strengthening overnight Friday and begin to look a bit disorganized. However, as Ida moved into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico early on Saturday morning (August 28th), the system began to reorganize and by the early afternoon Ida had strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane. Ida slowly strengthened during the second half of the day Saturday, remaining a Category 2 hurricane as the cyclone moved into the central Gulf of Mexico. However, on Saturday night into Sunday morning (August 29th), Ida rapidly intensified, and quickly became a Category 4 hurricane as it moved into the northern Gulf of Mexico. In the 26 hours leading up to landfall, Ida’s minimum central pressure fell 54 mb to 930 mb and the cyclone’s maximum sustained winds increased 65 mph to 150 mph, making it a higher-end Category 4 hurricane.
Ida officially made landfall midday Sunday near Port Fourchon, LA as a higher-end Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph sustained winds. After moving inland Ida began to slowly weaken as the cyclone began to turn northward in forward movement. During the evening hours, as Ida weakened to a Category 3 hurricane, the center of the system passed only about 25-30 miles west of New Orleans. During the first half of the overnight, as the center of Ida passed about 30 miles east of Baton Rouge, Ida further weakened to a Category 2 and then a Category 1 hurricane. Early on Monday morning (August 30th) Ida officially weakened to a tropical storm as the cyclone moved near the border of Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi and Ida further weakened to a tropical depression in central Mississippi that afternoon.
Tropical Depression Ida continued overnight last night (Monday) and into today as the center of the system moved northeastward into south-central Tennessee. Ida will continue to move northeastward over the next couple days bringing heavy rainfall from the Mid-South into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as the system transitions to a post-tropical system.