Tropical Depression in Caribbean Likely to Become Major Hurricane

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea is likely to strengthen into a major hurricane that could threaten southern parts the United States on Sunday.
In its latest advisory, the center says the tropical depression about 180 kilometers south-southwest of Jamaica is moving to the northwest and is expected to continue in that direction over the next few days.  
The storm system has maximum sustained winds of about 55 km/h but forecasters expect it to strengthen into what will be known as Tropical Storm Ida (and then a hurricane) as it moves to the west of Cuba and into the southern Gulf of Mexico.  
Forecasters fear dramatic strengthening as the storm moves over the Gulf of Mexico. On her Twitter account, Mississippi State University atmospheric scientist Kim Wood said the storm track will take it over the warmest waters in the gulf.
She said the water in the area is about 30 degrees Celsius to a depth of 40 meters. “I don’t have words for that,” she said in the tweet.
Such extremely warm waters favor rapid strengthening after Ida enters the gulf Friday.  
Forecasters say that while there is still a great deal of uncertainty, the forecast track would take the storm into Louisiana, which was hit hard by three major hurricanes last year. The hurricane center is already warning of a “life-threatening” storm surge when the storm makes landfall and the potential for damaging winds and flooding rain.  
Forecasters say the storm track is still coming into focus and could shift in the next several days. They urged concerned citizens in the potential path to continue to watch the storm’s movement.

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