PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is anticipated while Ida moves over western Cuba this evening.
Steady to rapid strengthening is expected when Ida moves over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, and Ida is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast on Sunday.
As Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, we will be on the eastern side with some of the rain and a few thunderstorms from Ida`s outer bands. The best chance of seeing any rain bands on Sunday will be in the Florida Panhandle and southeast Alabama.
Rain bands will start near the coast and offshore in the morning, then working their way inland through the day. Some heavy downpours are possible in some of the rain bands given the tropical airmass (PWATs of 2.0-2.25″). Additionally, it is still a bit uncertain if a localized tornado threat materializes in the outer bands this far east. Most local impacts from Ida will be confined to rip currents and marine hazards.
The risk for potentially deadly rip currents and high surf continues Sunday along our local beaches with surf heights of 5-8 feet