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Ida Is Heading for Waters Known For Putting Storms on Steroids

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- The tropical depression expected to become Hurricane Ida is on course to cut a path through waters that are notorious for turning storms into monsters.

The system is going to cross and follow the Loop Current up out of the Caribbean, a ribbon of ultra-warm water that circles the Gulf and provides fuel for hurricanes, said Ryan Truchelut, president of Weather Tiger LLC. In the past when storms have hit this swirl they have exploded in strength, such as Katrina did when it came across the region before striking Louisiana and Mississippi devastating New Orleans and killing at least 1,800 people.

“It is not only going to cross it, it is going run the course,” said Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist at Energy Weather Group.

The storm threatens to greatly worsen an already active hurricane season, with five storms hitting the U.S. in 2021 as climate change fuels extreme weather around the globe. On its current track, Ida would ride over offshore gas and oil platforms, then target an area in Louisiana that’s home to refineries, agriculture shipping points and chemical plants. Six tropical storms and hurricanes have blown through that region in the last two seasons, including Laura, the strongest to hit western Louisiana since the 19th century, and Delta six weeks later.

The storm will likely spark widespread evacuations and shut-ins on offshore energy production facilities.

“It is coming right into the heart of the production region,” Rouiller said. “They don’t have much time left, so they have to act quickly now.”

This is also an area that has had heavy rain all summer, so flooding will likely be a major issue. Water kills about half of all those who die in hurricanes.

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