FIRST ALERT: Tropical Storm Ida forms, could become season’s first major hurricane
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Tropical Depression Nine has become more organized and has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Ida.
Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft data indicate that the depression has strengthened to Tropical Storm Ida. The maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 40 mph with higher gusts.
At 5:00 PM, the center of Tropical Storm Ida was located near latitude 18.0 North, longitude 79.8 West. The storm is moving toward the northwest near 14 mph, and this general motion should continue over the next few days.
On the forecast track, the center of the storm will pass near or over the Cayman Islands tonight, the Isle of Youth and western Cuba Friday, and over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico Friday night and Saturday. The system is forecast to approach the U.S. northern Gulf coast on Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts. Steady strengthening is forecast during the next few days. The storm is expected to become a hurricane when it is near western Cuba or over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Additional strengthening is likely over the Gulf of Mexico, and the system could be near major hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf coast.
The system is forecast to approach the northern Gulf coast at or near major hurricane intensity on Sunday, where there is an increasing risk of life-threatening storm surge, damaging hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall Sunday and Monday, especially along the coast of Louisiana. Storm Surge and Hurricane watches will likely be issued for a portion of this area later tonight or Friday morning.
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