Ida, Katrina Related However Tiny Variations Are Key

Hurricane Ida is wanting eerily like a harmful sequel to 2005s Hurricane Katrina, the most costly storm in American historical past. However there’s a couple of still-to-come twists that might make Ida nastier in some methods, however not fairly as horrific in others.

Ida is forecast to make landfall on the identical calendar date, August 29, as Katrina did 16 years in the past, placing the identical basic a part of Louisiana with about the identical wind pace, after quickly strengthening by going over the same patch of deep heat water that supercharges hurricanes.

What might be totally different is essential although: Route and dimension.

Katrina hit Louisiana from due south, whereas Ida is coming to the identical a part of the state from southeast. A day-and-a-half earlier than landfall Idas hurricane-force winds prolonged 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the middle in comparison with 106 miles (170 kilometers) for the way more huge Katrina on the identical time earlier than landfall.

This has the potential to be extra of a pure catastrophe whereas the massive problem in Katrina was extra of a man-made one due to levee failures, mentioned College of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. Levee failures pushed Katrinas dying toll to 1,833 and its general injury to about $176 billion in present {dollars} and specialists dont anticipate Ida to return close to these totals.


Ida is coming to the identical basic place from a barely totally different course. A number of hurricane specialists concern that distinction in angle could put New Orleans extra within the harmful storm quadrant the suitable entrance a part of a hurricane than it was in Katrina, when the town was extra devastated by levee failure than storm surge. Katrinas northeast quadrant pushed 28-foot (8.5-meter) storm surges in Mississippi not New Orleans.

Idas angle is doubtlessly even worse, McNoldy mentioned. As a result of it’s smaller “it’s not going to as simply create an enormous storm surge … however the angle that that is coming in, I believe is extra conducive to pushing water into the lake (Pontchartrain).

That northwestern path of Ida not solely places New Orleans extra within the bullseye than it did in Katrina, nevertheless it additionally extra targets Baton Rouge and essential industrial areas, mentioned meteorologist Jeff Masters, who flew hurricane missions for the federal government and based Climate Underground. He mentioned Ida is forecast to maneuver by the simply absolute worst place for a hurricane.

It’s forecast to trace over the economic hall between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which is likely one of the key infrastructure areas of the U.S., essential to the financial system, theres a whole bunch of main business websites there I imply petrochemical websites, three of the 15 largest ports in America, a nuclear energy plant, Masters mentioned. Youre most likely going to close down the Mississippi River for barge site visitors for a number of weeks.

Its not simply the coastal influence. Its not simply New Orleans, mentioned meteorologist Steve Bowen, head of world disaster perception on the threat and consulting agency Aon. Had been actually taking a look at potential losses effectively into the billions.


The distinction is dimension isn’t just bodily big, nevertheless it issues for damages. Storms which are larger in width have bigger storm surge due to the broader push of the water.

Ida will not be going to generate the large storm surge like Katrina did, itll have extra centered storm surge like (1969s) Camille, Masters mentioned.

However bigger in dimension storms are sometimes weaker, Bowen mentioned. Theres a commerce off of intense injury in a smaller space versus much less injury, however nonetheless dangerous, in a wider space. Bowen and Princeton Universitys Gabriel Vecchi mentioned they don’t know which situation could be worse on this case.


Ida is about to hit an eddy of whats referred to as the Loop Present. The Loop Present is that this deep patch of extremely heat water. It takes heat water off the Yucatan Peninsula does a loop within the Gulf of Mexico and spins up the japanese fringe of Florida into the Gulf Stream. Water above 79 levels (26 levels Celsius) is hurricane gas.

Usually when a storm intensifies or stalls it takes up all the areas heat water after which hits colder water that begins to weaken the storm or at the least retains it from additional strengthening. However these heat water spots hold fueling a storm. Katrina powered up this fashion and Ida is forecast to do the identical. The eddy that Ida goes to move over has crucial heat water going greater than 500 toes (150 meters) deep, only a sizzling tub, McNoldy mentioned. Which means a lot of speedy intensification.

Operating over these Loop Present (eddys) is a really massive deal. Its actually harmful, mentioned local weather and hurricane scientist Kossin of The Local weather Service. It might be explosive.

Up to now 40 years extra hurricanes are quickly intensifying extra typically and local weather change appears to be at the least partly to be blame, Kossin and Vecchi mentioned. Hurricane Grace already quickly intensified this yr and final yr Hanna, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma and Delta all quickly intensified.

It has a human fingerprint on it, mentioned Kossin, who with Vecchi was a part of a 2019 research on latest speedy intensifications.


After a hurricane quickly intensifies it turns into so robust and its eye so small that it typically can’t fairly hold going that manner, so it types an outer eyewall and the within eyewall collapses, Kossin mentioned. That’s referred to as eyewall alternative.

When a brand new eyewall types, typically a storm turns into bigger in dimension however a bit weaker, Kossin mentioned. So key for Ida is when and if that occurs. It occurred for Katrina, which steadily weakened within the 12 hours earlier than it made landfall.

Nonetheless, lots of the different forces like crosswinds that made Katrina weaken on the final minute aren’t there for Ida, McNoldy mentioned.


Observe Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Division of Science Training. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.

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