Hurricane Ida is trying eerily like a harmful sequel to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the most expensive storm in American historical past. But there’s a number of still-to-come twists that might make Ida nastier in some methods, however not fairly as horrific in others.

Ida is forecast to make landfall on the identical calendar date, August 29, as Katrina did 16 years in the past, hanging the identical common a part of Louisiana with about the identical wind pace, after quickly strengthening by going over the same patch of deep heat water that supercharges hurricanes.

What could possibly be completely different is essential although: Direction and dimension.

Katrina hit Louisiana from due south, whereas Ida is coming to the identical a part of the state from southeast. A day-and-a-half earlier than landfall Ida’s hurricane-force winds prolonged 13 miles from the middle in comparison with 106 miles for the far more large Katrina on the similar time earlier than landfall.

“This has the potential to be more of a natural disaster whereas the big issue in Katrina was more of a man-made one” due to levee failures, stated University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. Levee failures pushed Katrina’s demise toll to 1,833 and its total harm to about $176 billion in present {dollars} and specialists do not anticipate Ida to return close to these totals.

Different course

Ida is coming to the identical common place from a barely completely different course. Several hurricane specialists worry that distinction in angle could put New Orleans extra within the harmful storm quadrant — the fitting entrance a part of a hurricane — than it was in Katrina, when the town was extra devastated by levee failure than storm surge. Katrina’s northeast quadrant pushed 28-foot storm surges in Mississippi not New Orleans.

Ida’s “angle is potentially even worse,” McNoldy stated. Because it’s smaller “it’s not going to as easily create a huge storm surge … but the angle that this is coming in, I think is more conducive to pushing water into the lake (Pontchartrain).”

That northwestern path of Ida not solely places New Orleans extra within the bullseye than it did in Katrina, however it additionally extra targets Baton Rouge and essential industrial areas, stated meteorologist Jeff Masters, who flew hurricane missions for the federal government and based Weather Underground. He stated Ida is forecast to maneuver via “the just absolute worst place for a hurricane.”

“It is forecast to track over the industrial corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which is one of the key infrastructure regions of the U.S., critical to the economy, there’s hundreds of major industry sites there I mean petrochemical sites, three of the 15 largest ports in America, a nuclear power plant,” Masters stated. “You’re probably going to shut down the Mississippi River for barge traffic for multiple weeks. ”

“It’s not just the coastal impact. It’s not just New Orleans,” stated meteorologist Steve Bowen, head of world disaster perception on the threat and consulting agency Aon. “We’re certainly looking at potential losses well into the billions.”

Louisiana scrambling to arrange for Hurricane…


Size issues

The distinction in dimension is not only bodily enormous, however it issues for damages. Storms which can be greater in width have bigger storm surge due to the broader push of the water.

Ida “is not going to generate the huge storm surge like Katrina did, it’ll have more focused storm surge like (1969’s) Camille,” Masters stated.

But bigger in dimension storms are sometimes weaker, Bowen stated. There’s a commerce off of intense harm in a smaller space versus much less harm, however nonetheless dangerous, in a wider space. Bowen and Princeton University’s Gabriel Vecchi stated they do not know which situation could be worse on this case.

Rapid intensification

Ida is about to hit an eddy of what is referred to as the Loop Current. The Loop Current is that this deep patch of extremely heat water. It takes heat water off the Yucatan Peninsula does a loop within the Gulf of Mexico and spins up the japanese fringe of Florida into the Gulf Stream. Water above 79 levels is hurricane gasoline.

Normally when a storm intensifies or stalls it takes up all the area’s heat water after which hits colder water that begins to weaken the storm or not less than retains it from additional strengthening. But these heat water spots maintain fueling a storm. Katrina powered up this fashion and Ida is forecast to do the identical. The eddy that Ida goes to cross over has needed heat water going greater than 500 toes deep, “just a hot tub,” McNoldy stated. That means a lot of speedy intensification.

“Running over these Loop Current (eddys) is a very big deal. It’s really dangerous,” stated local weather and hurricane scientist Kossin of The Climate Service. “It could be explosive.”

In the previous 40 years extra hurricanes are quickly intensifying extra usually and local weather change appears to be not less than partly to be blame, Kossin and Vecchi stated. Hurricane Grace already quickly intensified this 12 months and final 12 months Hanna, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma and Delta all quickly intensified.

“It has a human fingerprint on it,” stated Kossin, who with Vecchi was a part of a 2019 examine on latest speedy intensifications.

New eyewall

After a hurricane quickly intensifies it turns into so sturdy and its eye so small that it usually cannot fairly maintain going that method, so it varieties an outer eyewall and the within eyewall collapses, Kossin stated. That’s referred to as eyewall substitute.

When a brand new eyewall varieties, usually a storm turns into bigger in dimension however a bit weaker, Kossin stated. So key for Ida is when and if that occurs. It occurred for Katrina, which steadily weakened within the 12 hours earlier than it made landfall.

However, lots of the different forces like crosswinds that made Katrina weaken on the final minute aren’t there for Ida, McNoldy stated.


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