Ida, Now A Hurricane, Approaches Cuba Before Likely Heading Up The Gulf Towards Louisiana

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Update 12:55 p.m. CT:

Tropical Storm Ida is now Hurricane Ida.

The storm was upgraded around 12:15 p.m. CT, as it approached Cuba with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. It was expected to make landfall in western Cuba Friday as it makes its way towards the Gulf of Mexico, tracking eastward to Louisiana.

According to forecasts from the National Weather Service in Houston, the hurricane will likely become a category 3 or higher by Saturday afternoon in the southern Gulf before it reaches the Louisiana coastline on Sunday.

The forecast predicts “life-threatening storm surge, damaging hurricane force winds, and heavy rainfall” along the coast of Louisiana by Monday.

Ida marks the ninth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predicted an especially active season this year, with as many as 21 named storms.

Impacts to Southeast Texas would likely be minimal over the weekend, with elevated tides and wave heights, strong rip currents, and sustained winds that could reach up to 30 mph. The storm also brings the possibility of minor coastal flooding, according to the forecast.

During a Thursday afternoon press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the county activated its Emergency Operation Center to level three earlier in the day in case the storm veered towards the Houston area.

“We are hopeful that the weather will spare us,” she said. “But even if it does, we have to remember that it’s hurricane season. Chances are we’re going to have another storm come our way.”

Additional reporting by Paul DeBenedetto.

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