Hurricane Ida is closing in on the coast of Louisiana this afternoon, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and a minimum central pressure of 933mb, making it a strong category 4 hurricane.
This is a major hurricane that will cause loss of life and property. Hurricane-force winds have already hit the immediate coastal area of Louisiana and will continue to spread inland. Storm surge in excess of 9 ft. is expected to cause extreme flooding along the coast, and heavy rainfall will cause significant flooding inland.
As the remnants of the storm move further inland, not much has changed in the past 24 hours with regards to the anticipated track of Ida and her impacts on East Tennessee.
Ida will reach us as a post-tropical depression by Wednesday, generating appreciable rainfall Tuesday and Wednesday. The National Weather Service’s forecast is for 3-4 inches of rain for the northern Cumberland Plateau region.
As the storm becomes post-tropical, it will devolve into an open wave and interact with the frontal boundary to the north, pushing substantial rainfall into the region. The primary threat with this system is the rainfall, and some minor flooding issues cannot be ruled out here on the plateau, if the heaviest rainfall totals are realized. The National Weather Service’s Morristown office is also highlighting the potential for isolated tornadoes in East Tennessee. The overall risk for severe weather seems extremely low here on the northern plateau, however.
A flash flood watch has been issued for parts of Middle Tennessee, in anticipation of the rainfall. The heaviest swath of rainfall associated with the storm’s remnants are expected in that region. In general, the further east you go in East Tennessee, the less rain you will see. The mountains may receive an inch of rain or less.
The primary impacts of this system will be felt in our region Tuesday and Wednesday. The NWS has an 80% chance of rain Tuesday, 90% chance of rain Tuesday night, and 70% chance of rain on Wednesday. The system will have cleared the area on Thursday, leaving slightly cooler temperatures in its wake.
For late-week activities, the weather looks great. Thursday will feature temps in the 70s and only a slight chance of rain. Friday will feature sunny skies with a high around 80 and dropping into the upper 50s at night for Friday night high school football.