Tracking the Tropics: Hurricane Ida expected to rapidly strengthen, reach category 4 before landfall

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Ida is set to begin gathering its strength quickly as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of the 8 a.m. EDT update, the system was moving northwest at 16 miles per hour with max sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. However, it expected to strengthen into a category four hurricane before landfall — making it “an extremely dangerous major hurricane,” the NHC said.

Ida’s structure was briefly disrupted by Cuba Friday night as expected, but it will now rapidly strengthen in the next 24 to 36 hours. Landfall is expected either late Sunday or early Monday.

Locally, we will see a high risk of strong rip currents, rougher than normal seas, and passing storms this Saturday. The storm’s major impacts will stay well west of Tampa.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

East of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border
Vermilion Bay, Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River
Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

Sabine Pass to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Louisiana
Mobile Bay

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

Cameron Louisiana to west of Intracoastal City Louisiana
Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

Cameron Louisiana to west of Intracoastal City Louisiana
Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border

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