Ida: Late Season Hurricane Threat

Beware the Ida of November — Hurricane Ida, that is. Though it is forecast to weaken further before making U.S. landfall, Hurricane Ida is currently a Category One hurricane and moving across the Gulf of Mexico near 16 mph. A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northern Gulf coast from Pascagoula, Mississippi eastward to Indian Pass, Florida and according to the National Hurricane Center, Ida is expected to make landfall along the northern Gulf coast overnight. Under the current track, that looks likely to be somewhere near Alabama before it takes a turn to the northeast toward Georgia and Florida. The timing of Ida – some 22 or so days before the official end of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season is pause for thought. NOAA data show that the Atlantic basin has a very peaked season from August through October, with 78 percent of tropical storm days, 87 percent of minor hurricane days (Category 1 and 2) and 96 percent of major hurricane days (Category 3, 4, and 5) occurring then. Maximum activity is in early to mid-September. November hurricanes may be rare, but U.S. landfalling ones are rarer. Hurricane Kate in 1985 was the last November hurricane to make U.S. landfall. Kate weakened to a Category 1 storm before hitting the Florida Panhandle where it was responsible for five deaths. Whether it remains at hurricane strength or not, Ida is a timely reminder that the season doesn’t officially end until November 30. Check out I.I.I. hurricane facts and stats.

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