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Tropical Storm Ida

Tropical Storm Ida has formed to the south of Cuba, and is moving to the northwest (320 degrees, 13 knots).  This track will bring Ida across western Cuba later today, over the Gulf of Mexico Saturday, and approach the coast of Louisiana by late Sunday.  The various predictive models are in general agreement on the track and the rate of travel, but the intensity forecast is somewhat uncertain.  The Gulf is warm, and atmospheric conditions are favorable for intensification, and Ida is predicted to be a major (Category 3 or above) at landfall.  Ida will be a very large hurricane when it reaches the coast, so do not focus on the track center, as storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts will extend far from the eye of the storm.

 Sailboat Bay is likely to experience Tropical Storm (39 mph) winds, with higher gusts.  Current guidance is that 58 mph winds are possible, but not likely. Earliest arrival time for strong winds is forecast to be Saturday evening, and more likely into Sunday morning as Ida slows as it approaches land.

 Because Ida is projected to remain to our west, Sailboat Bay will be in the zone of highest storm surge. The peak storm surge for Mobile Bay is forecast to be as much as 3-5feet above the normal water level.  Thiswould put all the finger piers under water, and water would be over the marina walkway in most locations. 

 Heavy rainfall will accompany the thunderstorms embedded in the bands of the circulation, and we may experience up to a foot of rainfall/  

 Key Messages:

 1. Strong winds and rain from Ida will likely affect Sailboat Bay.  The forecast appears to be fairly consistent, but even a minor change in Ida’s track, or a wobble as the system approaches land, could change the forecast significantly. 

 2. The risk of storm surge inundation exists at Sailboat Bay, and bears close monitoring. 

 3. Ida is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday. Potentially devastating wind damage could occur where the core of Ida moves onshore. 4. Ida is likely to produce heavy rainfall later Sunday into Monday across the central Gulf Coast from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi and Alabama.  As Ida moves further inland across the Lower Mississippi Valley, considerable flash, urban, small stream, and riverine flooding is expected.

  For Sailboat Bay:

 Remove furniture and any light objects from decks and beneath units and store the items securely.

 Secure boats against wind and rising water.  If on a lift, remove any light objects from the boat, raise the boat as high as the lift permits without “double-wrapping” the cables, tie your boat to the lift, and tie the lift to the pilings holding the lift.  Hurricane guidance from insurance carriers recommends removing covers, Bimini tops, and flags from the boat, as the cover and Bimini could be destroyed, and may also damage the gel coat of the boat.   Remove anything from your finger piers and around the docks as well.

 If the forecast changes significantly, additional precautions, including removal of all vehicles and evacuation of Sailboat Bay may be necessary.