Virginia feels impacts from Ida, second major hurricane of season NWS says

Safety in the Storm

(WFXR) – Ida is the second major hurricane in the Atlantic hurricane 2021 season, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

This strong hurricane made landfall near Port Fourchon, La. and left long-lasting impacts as it traveled toward the Northeast — including bringing severe weather and heavy rain in the southwest and central parts of Virginia.

On Tuesday night, Ida crawled through Virginia as a much-weaker Tropical Depression. The outer bands of Ida produced severe weather and spun up two confirmed tornadoes in Montgomery County.

One was reported southeast of Radford and another close to Blacksburg. Neither tornado was on the ground for more than a few minutes, but the National Weather Service in Blacksburg classified them as EF-1’s with winds in each of between 90-95 mph.

Besides severe weather, Ida brought several inches of rainfall to the area. The Danville region (especially just north of town) saw anywhere from 3-5 inches. Between 2-4 inches of rain fell across parts of Alleghany County (from near Covington through eastern Craig County), northwestern Roanoke County, parts of Carroll County, northern Grayson County, and also along the I-81 corridor from Buchanan to Lexington and near Buena Vista.

Ida began as a Tropical Depression on Thursday, Aug. 26 just to the southwest of the island of Jamaica in the central Caribbean.

The storm tracked to the northwest over the western tip of Cuba on Friday, Aug. 27 as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

The storm re-emerged over the northern Caribbean before entering the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, Aug. 28 where it began its rapid intensification.

The term “rapid intensification” refers to a storm’s winds that increase by at least 35 mph in a 24-hour time span.

At 10 a.m. CDT (11 a.m. EDT) on Aug. 28, Ida’s winds over the Gulf of Mexico were shown to be 85 mph. By 10 a.m. CDT (11 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, Aug. 29, Ida’s winds were 150 mph (a high-end Category 4 storm). Doing the math, that’s a 65 mph increase in 24 hours, easily classifying it to have undergone rapid intensification.

Shortly after 12 p.m. CDT (1 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, Aug. 29, Ida officially made landfall near Port Fourchon, La. as a strong Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph, with a peak gust of 172 mph reported at Port Fourchon (right along the southern Louisiana coast).

After that, the storm slowed down which helped to drop copious amounts of rainfall in parts of eastern Louisiana and into southern Mississippi.

The storm then started to push toward the northeast but was still moving at a relatively slow rate at just shy of 10 mph.

Further north, significant rainfall was reported near Taneytown in northern Maryland, with over eight inches of rain fell.

Elsewhere, not quite as high totals. The lower Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania saw anywhere from 2-5 inches of rain that swelled creeks and rivers including the Susquehanna River and some of its tributaries coming out of Harrisburg.

Philadelphia also saw several inches of rain with reports that the Schuylkill River Walk was partially destroyed.

Landfalling tropical systems typically have a long-lasting effect well inland and Ida certainly proved to be among another one of those systems that will be long-remembered.

The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is during September, with the season ending at the end of November.

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