Ida was upgraded to a hurricane last night and looks to become stronger than forecast the previous two days. Ida started out as just some thunderstorms in the southwest Caribbean four days ago and actually broke a record for intensification. From thunderstorms to a cat 1 hurricane in 24 hours. Ida became a hurricane for the first time just before landfall in Nicaragua four days ago, where it dumped 11 inches of rain, making thousands homeless. Ida then tracked east of her forecast points keeping the center of the storm over low swampy terrain, as opposed to the mountains they thought Ida would cross. This left enough energy in the system so that as soon as the center cleared land it began intensifying straight away. Now, the situation is enormously complicated as we have a system tracking north east out of the Bay of Campeche that will affect Ida. It was thought that the two systems would merge turning tropical Ida, into an extra-tropical system robbing it of it's intensity, but enlarging the wind field by several orders. The words that were used for two days were "perfect storm" Here is this mornings IR sat loop.. you can see the system to west coming out of the Bay of Campeche. Two days ago this system was larger and filled the entire BOC. In fact the trough was so strong they were surmising that it might pull a Pacific system into the Gulf with it. Now, the northern Gulf of Mexico has had some serious easterlies blowing for several days creating coastal flooding from the Florida panhandle to Brownsville Texas.. this will only get worse. It seems that for the moment, Ida has become strong enough to remain a tropical longer than initially forecast. Tropical systems are defined as "warm core" in that it produces it energy from the evaporation of warm water causing rising air that is kicked our into the stratosphere creating low pressure. Extra-tropical are cold core, usually connected to a frontal boundary and are pressure differential fueled. The pressure differences from one side of the frontal boundary to the other provide enough energy to get the surface air moving, especially it the front collides with a low pressure feature. Two days ago, it was thought that Ida would barely, if at all, intensify into a hurricane. It was thought that wind shear would stunt that growth long enough for the front moving southward to take over. Ahhh but we were fooled. Yesterday the models started forecasting intensification and that trend has continued this morning. Also, the models that had forecast Ida to only make it to the central GOM changed to bring her closer to land, THEN they adjusted to bring Ida very near New Orleans, and the Florida panhandle and upgraded the intensity to hurricane force. From there, most of the models have Ida being pushed back south-southeast. Here is yesterdays NHC 5 day forecast; Here is this mornings updated forecast.. notice the intensity differences and the push SE; an important thing to remember is that the wind field will be pushing water the whole time and it means bad things for the folks in the panhandle if Ida lingers for any length of time. Notice that the front coming down will push Ida back south.. south east towards south Florida. Here is Wednesdays forecast map, you can see the front pushing down; USUALLY, at this time of year, the fronts will grab any gulf systems and yank them off to the northeast and out into the Atlantic, it seems that Ida will not arrive far enough north in time for this to happen so instead it will be pushed back southwards by the front. It is thought that by the time Ida begins moving south, it will have lost it's warm core and will have become extra-tropical. This "could" be a major rain event for Florida with large differentials in temperature and pressure so there is a strong chance that tornado's will be spawned along the frontal boundary intersecting Ida. Here is this mornings Cancun and Cuban radar. The Cancun link is live and should refresh and stay current. Sadly, I cannot give you a loop; The Cuban radar takes me 15 minutes to load the site for some reason with half the attempts not working at all If you extrapolate time and direction to the current forecast it looks like Ida could be affecting south Florida across next weekend. This is just friggen aweful boys and girls. Not only is there the Bucs game to consider, but it could mess up the weekend of a lifetime for TheRev and I.. Thanks to George(Muck) and Malcolm (Celtkin), Raul and I have been invited to join George and partake in the webmasters weekend sponsored by the Dolphins. Tours of the training facilities, the stadium, meet Coaches and staff, dinner in the team cafeteria, on the field pregame.. this dang storm could make it messy.. arrrrgggg updates as they become relevant.