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TS Ida expected to make landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as a strong hurricane

Today Tropical Storm Ida developed south of Cuba as expected. It is currently predicted to move NW into the Gulf of Mexico, where the very warm water there will help it spin up to a major or near-major hurricane before it makes landfall along the Louisiana coast on Sunday. Once it gets over land, it should decay in intensity so that by the time it gets to northern Alabama it is down to a depression. The 5-day cone now covers most of Alabama and the northwestern corner of Georgia. Impacts along the coast include a storm surge of up to 11 feet, rainfall of 10-15 inches, and strong gusty winds. Farther inland, most of Mississippi could see rain of up to 6 inches before Tuesday evening. After that, Ida will turn NE and move over northern Alabama and NW Georgia, bring more rain and gusty winds to the area. Falling trees and power outages are expected there before the storm moves off to the NE. Do not be fixated on the center of the cone, since shifts to the west or east are likely over time. Areas to the right of the path, including most of Alabama and parts of Georgia, especially the western and northern parts, are likely to see intermittent heavy rain, gusty winds, and the chance of tornadoes before and while Ida makes landfall and moves over Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday and Monday. Rain, winds, and some potential for local severe weather could continue into Tuesday or even Wednesday for northern AL and GA and then the Carolinas.