Hurricane Ida, which is moving northwest through the Gulf of Mexico, is forecasted to likely produce heavy rainfall Sunday and Monday across the central Gulf Coast from southeast Louisiana to coastal Mississippi, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Atmore area will be under a flash flood watch from Sunday through Monday night.
There is a 90 percent chance of heavy rain on Sunday; an 80 percent chance of heavy rain Sunday night; and a 90 percent chance of heavy rain all day Monday, according to the NWS.
Gov. Kay Ivey, ahead of Ida’s landfall, issued a state of emergency today for the state’s coastal and western counties, including Escambia. The state of emergency is effective today at 2 p.m.
“As Hurricane Ida’s trek continues in the direction of Louisiana, we still expect the possibility of flooding and even spin-off tornadoes in portions of Alabama,” Ivey said. “With a storm like this, we always want to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, which is why I have preemptively declared a state of emergency for our coastal and western counties. We will continue keeping an eye on the evolving system. I urge Alabamians and our visitors to stay weather aware.”
The following is from the National Weather Service’s 11 a.m. update:
FLOODING: We are becoming **INCREASINGLY CONCERNED** about the threat for heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding and significant river flooding. 4-8 inches of rain is possible across coastal and western portions of the area and some locations could receive 12+ inches (pinpointing exact locations is difficult at this point). A few rainbands will begin to move onshore tonight through early Sunday with the bulk of the heavy rain moving onshore through the day on Sunday and persisting into Monday. Rain will continue into Tuesday.
STORM SURGE/COASTAL FLOOD: Expecting a LONG DURATION coastal flood event lasting at least 3 high tide cycles. Inundation could begin as early as tonight and continues through Tuesday morning. Peak water levels occur Sunday night into Monday morning. Peak storm surge forecast for coastal Alabama is 2-4 feet inundation above normally dry ground. Minor coastal flooding is expected further east into the western Florida panhandle with 1-3 feet inundation above normally dry ground. This will impact coastal roads, especially low-lying roads right on the water, like the Mobile Causeway.
SURF/RIP CURRENTS: High risk of rip currents will PERSIST THROUGH mid-week, if not longer. Surf will DRAMATICALLY increase tonight and reach peak levels on Sunday night. High surf will also persist through early next week. Expect breaker heights of 8-12 ft tonight into Sunday, dropping to 6-9 feet Sunday night into Monday.
WIND: Some rainbands will rotate onshore tonight and coastal areas could see tropical storm force winds late tonight, but more than likely not until tomorrow morning. Further inland, expect winds of tropical storm strength Sunday afternoon into the evening.
TORNADO: Threat for tornadoes increases along the coast late tonight and spreads inland across the entire area Sunday and Monday.