Tropical Storm Ida could make landfall in the United States as a major Cat. 3 hurricane.
Ida formed in the Caribbean on Thursday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to be at or near major hurricane strength when it makes landfall near Louisiana or Mississippi late Sunday or Monday.
Model plots show the system could begin impacting the central coastline of the Gulf Coast as early as Saturday. Hurricane and storm surge watches have been issued along the Gulf coast for portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Messages from the National Hurricane Center show an increasing risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds.
The 5 a.m. advisory on Friday showed Ida strengthening as the center passed through the Cayman Islands.
North Carolina could get rain from Ida early next week, but impacts are not expected to be severe.
Two other systems are unlikely to affect the U.S. as they curve around an large area of high pressure centered in the far eastern Atlantic.
The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is Sept. 10. Historically, mid-August through October is the most active period of the Atlantic season.