Hurricane Ida rapidly intensified before reaching the coast •

Hurricane Ida rapidly intensified before reaching the coast

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a nighttime view of Hurricane Ida captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite.

Ida made landfall around noon on August 29, 2021 at Port Fourchon, Louisiana with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. The storm arrived 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina.

Preliminary reports suggest that Ida was the fifth strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. based on wind speed.

According to NASA, in the last 24 hours before landfall, the storm’s central pressure dropped from 985 to 929 millibars, and winds intensified rapidly from 85 to 150 miles per hour. 

“For me, the most compelling aspect of Ida was its rapid intensification up to landfall,” said Scott Braun, a scientist who specializes in hurricanes at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “The storm was very similar to Hurricane Opal and Hurricane Katrina in that they underwent rapid intensification over a region, or eddy, of deep warm water known as the Gulf Loop Current.”

“In addition to providing warm water for fuel, such eddies impede the mixing of colder water to the surface. Such cooling would typically lead to storm weakening, or at least an end to strengthening. Both Opal and Katrina weakened before landfall, mitigating the impacts of the storms to some extent, even though they were obviously still bad. In Ida, near-coast weakening did not really occur.”

Image Credit: European Space Agency 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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