HOUSTON (CW39) When we talk about the strength of a hurricane, wind speed is often the first thing that comes to mind. After all, hurricane categories are based off of wind. However, minimum pressure is also a crucial part of hurricane strength.
The image above shows the 5 lowest pressure hurricanes to hit Louisiana, listed in chronological order. You’ll notice that Hurricane Katrina holds the record for strongest in terms of lowest pressure, which is a big part of why the storm surge was significantly higher that Ida’s. Ida, by the way, had the 2nd lowest pressure of all Louisiana hurricanes.
How does low pressure create more storm surge? Low pressure means there is less weight of the atmosphere on the water, literally creating a bulge in the ocean. Yes, higher winds can drive that storm surge far inland, but the lowest pressure will generally create the highest surge of water.
As for the maximum sustained winds as landfall, Ida ties Laura and the Last Island hurricane as the strongest with 150 mph winds. Click here for images of the wind damage.