Hurricane Ian just shy of a Category 5 hurricane as it nears Florida

ian space nasa
Ian's moving north-northeast at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified off Florida’s Southwest coast Wednesday morning, gaining top winds of 155 mph, just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status. Damaging winds and rain lashed the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast, with the Naples to Sarasota region at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge.

U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters confirmed Ian gained strength over warm Gulf of Mexico water after battering Cuba, bringing down the country’s electricity grid and leaving the entire island without power. Ian was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m., swirling toward the coast at 10 mph.

“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday, stressing that people in Ian’s path along the coast should rush to the safest possible shelter and stay there. “Do what you need to do to stay safe. If you are where that storm is approaching, you’re already in hazardous conditions. It’s going to get a lot worse very quickly. So please hunker down.”

Heeding meteorologists, Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 24 counties Friday afternoon and President Joe Biden authorized FEMA to make resources available to the state for storm prep dating back to Sept. 23.

DeSantis on Saturday expanded the state of emergency to cover all of Florida.

Here are the latest updates about Ian, with previous updates under that:

Update — Wednesday 10:15 a.m. — Power companies report a combined 193,709 Florida power customers are currently without power as a result of Hurricane Ian.

***

Update — Wednesday 10 a.m. — Hurricane hunter aircraft report hurricane force winds are approaching Sanibel Island imminently. The Southwest Florida International Airport reports tropical force winds of 62 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, maximum sustained winds at sea for Hurricane Ian remain at 155 miles, near the upper limit to still; be a Category 4 storm. The storm is 60 miles west of Naples and 65 miles southwest of Punta Gorda.

***

Update — Wednesday 8:30 a.m. — DeSantis at a news conference from the state’s Emergency Operations Center said it is too late for residents of Southwest Florida to evacuate and they should prepare to shelter in place or get to an evacuation shelter.

He said the storm is located 80 miles southwest of Charlotte County, where it is expected to make landfall, and that the worst effects of the storm will be felt from Sarasota to Collier counties.

Officials stressed that this has been the largest preparation effort for a storm in state history. While Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie called the storm “Charley-esque,” referencing a 2004 storm that brought catastrophe to Charlotte County as well, the state should be better prepared for the storm.

The state has activated 5,000 National Guard and there are 30,000 linemen ready to dispatch to affected areas and help restore power. But officials said the entire state should brace for tropical storm force winds over the next two days and said people should prepare as if a tornado could hit their homes.

***

Update — Wednesday 8 a.m. — There are no changes to the watches and warnings with the latest news from the National Hurricane Center, but it bears repeating that the storm surge risk increased overnight with the strengthening of this extremely powerful hurricane.

“Catastrophic storm surge inundation of 12 to 16 feet above ground level along with destructive waves are expected somewhere along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor,” the NHC said in its forecast discussion. “Residents in these areas should urgently follow any evacuation orders in effect.

“Catastrophic wind damage is expected along the southwestern coast of Florida beginning in the next few hours where the core of Ian makes landfall. Preparations to protect life and property should be urgently rushed to completion.”

Once it moves inland, the danger doesn’t pass. Central Florida can expect “widespread, life-threatening, catastrophic flooding” as Ian continues up the Florida Peninsula.

***

Update — Wednesday 7:20 a.m. — Want an extra concern? Toxic industrial wastewater like that which poured into Tampa Bay has become a concern as Hurricane Ian nears Category 5 status and moves toward Southwest Florida. Per The Associated Press:

“The polluted leftovers of Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining industry, more than 1 billion tons in “stacks” that resemble enormous ponds, are at risk for leaks or other contamination when Hurricane Ian comes ashore in the state, environmental groups say.

Florida has 24 such phosphogypsum stacks, most concentrated in mining areas in the central part of the state. About 30 million tons of this slightly radioactive waste is generated every year, according to the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute.

***

Update — Wednesday 7 a.m. — A new advisory shows Hurricane Ian on the brink of becoming a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. A Cat 5 storm has 157 mile-per-hour winds or greater and is the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Right now, hurricane-force winds can be found 40 miles from the center of the storm.

Ian is now 65b miles west-southwest of Naples and moving at 9 mph north-northeast. The storm is rapidly intensifying, suggesting Category 5 conditions could strike Southwest Florida in about seven hours. Forecasters expect the storm to move onto land today and then begin turning north. Once over land, the storm should decrease in intensity.

***

Update — Wednesday 6 a.m. — Storm surge in Key West peaked out the USGS gauge, meaning water levels reached 4.4 feet above average high tide, according to officials in Monroe County and Key West. Residents sheltering in place there are still encouraged to stay inside.

State media in Cuba reports the entire power grid has collapsed on the island, leaving most of the 11 million residents of the island in the dark.

***

Update — Wednesday 5 a.m. — The eye of the storm has passed over Key West. Now the system is moving north-northeast as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour. Forecasts indicate life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flooding in the Florida Peninsula.

As of the 5 a.m. update by the National Hurricane Center, the storm sits about 75 miles west-southwest of Naples. A hurricane warning remains in effect from the Chokoloskee to Anclote River and for the Dry Tortugas. Storm surge warnings remain for the Suwannee River south to Flamingo, covering Tampa Bay, and for the Lower Florida Keys from Big Pine Key westward to Key West, along with the Dry Tortugas, and on Florida’s east coast from the Flagler-Volusia Line to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, as well as for the St. Johns River. All of the Florida Keys remain under at least a tropical storm warning, which extends to Indian Pass. Communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee also are warned of tropical storm conditions.

Forecasts for the storm show it maintaining major hurricane strength as it makes landfall in Southwest Florida. Meteorologists expect the storm to move at a slower speed through the day and to begin to turn on a more northerly path. Hurricane hunter aircraft indicate winds up to 140. miles per hour and the intensity of the storm could fluctuate during the day.

The worst storm surge is expected between Longboat Key and Bonita Beach, where 8 to 12 feet of surge is expected. “The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to
the right of the center, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves,” messages from the weather service state.

***

Update — Tuesday 5 p.m. — The hurricane warning on Florida’s west coast now extends well south of Naples to Chokoloskee, while the tropical storm watch previously in effect is now a warning for the Suwannee River to Indian Pass, the Upper Florida Keys, Florida Bay, and southeastern Florida from south of Boca Raton.

The storm surge watch from the Flagler-Volusia County line to Marineland is now a storm surge warning.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward from the center of Ian up to 40 miles, and tropical storm force winds now extend up to 140 miles from the center. Rainfall in the Florida Keys and South Florida is expected to be around 6-8 inches, with isolated areas up to 12 inches. Those numbers dramatically increase for Central and Northeast Florida, which are forecast to receive 12-18 inches of rain, with totals up to 24 inches, through Thursday night.

“While the shear should increase up through landfall, it is just too close to call whether it starts to weaken Ian or not, or whether the larger system is able to resist the shear,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s forecast discussion. “Additionally, an eyewall replacement cycle could be in its initial phases, although predicting these structural changes is extremely difficult. The new forecast is near the last one, a little higher than the consensus.”

***

Update — Tuesday 2 p.m. — Ian’s moving north at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, and it’s expected to re-strengthen before reaching Florida’s west coast. The timeline’s moved up a bit as well, with the hurricane predicted to make landfall sometime Wednesday.

“Hurricane conditions are expected along the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday morning, with tropical storm conditions possibly beginning by late today,” according to the National Hurricane Center forecast. “Tropical storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area along the southwest coast of the Florida Peninsula by this evening, and along the west coast north of the Tampa Bay area and along portions of the east coast of Florida on Wednesday.

“Hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area beginning on Wednesday.”

***

Update — Tuesday 11 a.m. — While not entirely a surprise, the addition of Northeast Florida to the list of Sunshine State areas under weather warnings was an unwelcome sight around Duval County late in the morning.

Movement by Ian changed the worst-case storm surge forecasts to 8-12 feet for Longboat Key to Bonita Beach, 5-8 feet for the Anclote River to Longboat Key, the same for Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee, and 4-6 feet for the Suwannee River to the Anclote River.

Over on the other side of the state, there could be 3-5 feet of storm surge from the St. Marys River south to Marineland, including the St. Johns River, along with 2-4 feet of storm surge along the St. Johns River south of Julington.

There is a storm surge warning for the St. Marys River to Marineland, and on the west coast, from the Suwannee River to the Anclote River. A tropical storm warning covers the Atlantic Coast from the Altamaha Sound to Boca Raton, and a hurricane watch extends from Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee.

Hurricane-force winds stay confined to 35 miles out from the center, but Ian — with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph — now has tropical storm force winds extending out 140 miles.

“The well-defined eye of Ian emerged off the coast of western Cuba about an hour ago,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s forecast discussion. “Earlier reports from the NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Ian strengthened up through landfall, with an estimated pressure of 947 mb over western Cuba.

“While the hurricane has filled somewhat due to passage over Cuba, Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter data show that it has grown in size.”

Ian’s predicted to turn northeast and to move quicker than anticipated earlier.

“However, it should be emphasized that this track remains very uncertain, with a typical spread in the steering features leading to big speed and track differences down the line, not to mention the oblique angle of approach to Florida,” according to the forecast discussion. “The latest forecast is adjusted to the southeast for this advisory, showing landfall 6-12 hours faster than before, and we will have to see if the southern trend continues in the afternoon guidance.”

***

Update — Tuesday 8 a.m. — The watches and warnings that moved overnight remain the same as the sun rises over Florida. Ahead of the storm, storm surges and flooding should not be ignored as major threats to life and property.

A storm surge warning, which covers all the Tampa Bay area, means conditions are right for “life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline,” and people “located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions.”

Should Ian strike at high tide with peak storm surge, there could be 5-10 feet of water coming along with it, from the Anclote River to Bonita Beach, which includes Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. Storm surge declines further away from Tampa Bay the area, with 5-8 feet expected for the Suwannee River to the Anclote River and 4-7 expected from Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee, and 3-5 feet from Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable.

Northeast Florida gets in on the flooding too, with 2-4 feet of extra water predicted for the Altamaha Sound south to the Flagler-Volusia County line, including the St. Johns River.

Ian’s expected to move across Cuba within the next few hours, coming out in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico for its turn north and east.

“Maximum sustained winds are estimated near 125 mph with higher gusts,” according to the National Hurricane Center forecast. “Ian is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Little change in strength is expected while Ian moves over Cuba.

“Strengthening is expected later this morning after Ian emerges over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as a dangerous major hurricane.”

***

Update — Tuesday 5 a.m. — Ian continues to move across Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm system continues to move due north at about 12 miles per hour.

The greatest question for Florida residents will be what the storm does after passing over the massive island, but models show it heading directly to the peninsula to make landfall as a major hurricane of Category 3 strength or greater.

A hurricane warning has been extended as far south on the west coast of Florida as Bonita Springs, and as far north as the Anclote River, covering all of Tampa Bay and most of Southwest Florida’s coast. But the first area to face trouble will be the Florida Keys, and the Dry Tortugas have a warning in effect.

A tropical storm warning now extends north to the Suwannee River in Florida’s Panhandle and as far south as Flamingo. There’s also a warning in effect from the Seven Mile Bridge west to Key West in the Keys.

The entire shoreline of Lake Okeechobee also has a tropical storm warning in effect. And on the east coast, a warning is in place from the Brevard-Volusia County line south to Jupiter Inlet.

A storm surge warning is now in effect from Anclote River south to Flamingo, covering all of Tampa Bay. Key messages continue to warn of life-threatening storm surges from Fort Myers north to Tampa Bay.

Forecasts show the storm system potentially making landfall in the Dry Tortugas today and continuing toward the mainland to again make landfall early Thursday morning. Expect heavy rainfall to hit South Florida today, and for the weather to extend north to the Panhandle Wednesday.

***

Update — Monday 11 p.m. — Unfortunately, no news is bad news, and there’s not much new from the last update.

“After around 36 hours, the track forecast becomes more uncertain, since there is considerable divergence of the track models in the 2—3-day time frame,” according to the National Hurricane Center forecast discussion. “The guidance also shows considerable slowing of the forward speed, due to a weakening of the steering currents, when Ian approaches the west coast of Florida.

“This slower forward motion is likely to prolong the storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts, especially along the west coast of Florida.”

***

Update — Monday 8 p.m. — No change from the situation at 5 p.m.

“A turn to the north-northeast with a further reduction in forward speed is forecast on Wednesday,” according to the National Hurricane Center forecast. “On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move near or over western Cuba tonight and early Tuesday.

“Ian will then emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, pass west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday, and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday into Thursday.”

***

Update — Monday 5 p.m. — As Hurricane Ian moves north, watches and warnings for Florida shift. A hurricane warning is now in effect for Englewood to the Anclote River — including Tampa Bay — along with the Dry Tortugas, while a storm surge warning is in effect for the Anclote River south to Flamingo, including Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, a storm surge watch went in place for the Altamaha Sound to the Flagler-Volusia County line, including the St. Johns River.

Back toward the Gulf Coast, the tropical storm watch for Englewood to Flamingo is now a tropical storm warning, and a hurricane watch went out for the area of Bonita Beach to Englewood. There’s also a hurricane watch from the Anclote River to the Suwannee River.

A tropical storm watch now extends from the Suwannee River to Indian Pass, and from Jupiter Inlet to the Altamaha Sound.

“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 mph with higher gusts,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s forecast. “Rapid strengthening is expected during the next day or so, and Ian is forecast to become a major hurricane tonight or early Tuesday when it is near western Cuba and remain a major hurricane over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.”

Flooding is expected to be dangerous when Ian reaches Florida.

“There is the danger of life-threatening storm surge along much of the Florida west coast where a storm surge warning has been issued, with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region,” according to the forecast discussion. “Residents in these areas should listen to advice given by local officials.”

***

Update — Monday 2 p.m. — Not much changed about Ian’s path over the three hours since the last update, though the storm produced stronger winds, while hurricane-force winds now extend about 35 miles out from the center, while tropical storm force winds extend around 115 miles out.

“A turn toward the north with a slightly slower forward speed is expected on Tuesday,” according to the National Hurricane Center’s forecast discussion. Ian’s moving at 13 mph as of the last readings. “A turn toward the north-northeast with a further reduction in forward speed is forecast on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move near or over western Cuba tonight and early Tuesday.

“Ian will then emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, pass west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday, and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday into Thursday.”

***

Update — Monday 11 a.m. — The Tampa Bay area is too close for comfort to Ian’s projected path, with the latest forecast showing the storm degrading from a major hurricane to a tropical cyclone of lesser strength as it moves close to St. Petersburg between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. By Friday morning, Ian’s expected to be over the Big Bend as a tropical storm.

Before that, Ian’s to pass west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday.

“The satellite presentation of Ian has improved this morning,” the National Hurricane Center said in its forecast discussion. “Deep convection has increased within the inner core during the past several hours, with an expanding central dense overcast noted in recent satellite imagery.

“The inner core structure continues to take shape in radar data, although the eyewall still has a banded appearance and remains open on the west side.”

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, and the Dry Tortugas, while a storm surge watch now covers the Keys from the Card Sound Bridge to Key West, along with the Dry Tortugas, Florida Bay, the Anclote River southward to the Card Sound Bridge, and Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay’s also covered by a hurricane watch, which extends from Englewood to the Anclote River.

A tropical storm watch covers the Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge east to the Channel 5 Bridge, along with Lake Okeechobee and Englewood south to Flamingo.

***

Update — Monday 8 a.m. — Updated storm models show Ian’s storm path bending further east, suggesting it is far more likely the hurricane will strike the mainland of Florida.

As Hurricane Ian gains strength, the National Hurricane Center warns of significant wind and storm surge impacts today in West Cuba. There were no new hurricane watches and warnings issued with an 8 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm is moving northwest at 14 miles an hour, picking up speed from Sunday. With sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, it is now a Category 1 storm but could become a Category 3 or 4 storm today.

A major shift since Sunday, forecasts now predict the storm to be a major hurricane of Category 3 strength or higher when it reaches Florida, potentially as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

In Florida, a tropical storm warning remains in effect in the lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to Key West and the Dry Tortugas. A storm surge warning is in effect in Tampa Bay, from Anclote River south to Card Sound Bridge, in the Keys from the Card Sound Bridge west to Key West and in the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay.

Additionally, there’s a hurricane watch from Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay, and a tropical storm watch from Englewood south to Chokoloskee.

***

Update — Monday 5 a.m. — Winds reached hurricane strength overnight as Ian officially became a Category 1 storm. The National Hurricane Center said the maximum sustained winds for the storm move at 75 miles per hour, but a massive escalation in strength is expected to take place today as the storm barrels into Western Cuba.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued along the west coast of Florida from north of Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay. A Storm Surge Watch put in place in Southwest Florida on Sunday evening has been extended northward along the west
coast of Florida to the Anclote River. Meanwhile, a tropical storm warning is now in effect in the lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to Key West and in the Dry Tortugas. An important change from Sunday, forecasters now expect Ian to be a major hurricane — Category 4 strength or stronger — when it reaches Florida on its current path.

Models right now show the storm making landfall in Cuba early Tuesday morning, and forecasters remind us that great uncertainty surrounds the path from there. A five-day forecast still shows the storm could veer north to the Florida Panhandle. The models all show Ian heading to Florida’s coast, and likely making landfall early Wednesday morning.

***

Update — Sunday 11 p.m. — New forecasts from the National Hurricane Center show the path for Ian hugging closer to Florida’s west coast and potentially making landfall somewhere between the Big Bend and Southwest Florida on Wednesday evening.

But forecasters in key messages continue to stress a greater level of uncertainty in the forecasts than usual regarding what happens with the storm once it passes Cuba and heads into the Gulf of Mexico. And regardless of where the storm heads, meteorologists expect storm surge to be a problem in the area.

A Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge west to Key West, including the Dry Tortugas. The update marks the first time a warning was issued in the United States for risks associated with Ian.

A Storm Surge Watch was issued for the Keys from the Card Sound Bridge west to Key West, including the Dry Tortugas, and for the west coast of Florida from Englewood south to the Card Sound Bridge, including Florida Bay.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the west coast of Florida from Englewood southward to Chokoloskee.

***

Update — Sunday 8 p.m. — The latest update from the National Hurricane Center suggests Ian will cause flooding in river systems in North Florida and throughout the Southeast United States.

The storm is expected to be a major Category 4 or greater hurricane churning in the Gulf of Mexico by mid-week. The storm path hasn’t changed significantly since forecasts in mid-afternoon. The tropical storm continues to move slowly and is not expected to make landfall anywhere in Florida until after 2 p.m. on Wednesday by Friday afternoon, the storm is expected to have passed out of Florida and reduced to tropical storm force winds.

Of course, Ian has yet to become a hurricane, but forecasters expect that to change within 24 hours. By 2 p.m. Monday, the storm will at least be a Category 1 storm, models show, and it will be a major hurricane by the time the eye passes over Cuba.

***

Update — Sunday 5 p.m. — Ian remains a Tropical Storm as it heads west-northwest toward Western Cuba. The latest storm forecasts for the system’s path have wobbled slightly to the east, and Alabama and Escambia County are now just outside a projected arc for the storm. However, forecasters continue to warn the path of the system remains uncertain.

A path based on multiple models shows the edges of the system could reach Southwest Florida or Tampa Bay on Wednesday afternoon. At that point, the storm is still expected to be a major, Category 4 hurricane, but forecasts show it will diminish in strength as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico and heads to Florida to make landfall.

The storm, of note, has yet to reach hurricane-force winds, but forecasters expect that to rapidly change overnight. By 2 p.m. on Monday, the National Hurricane Center predicts hurricane force winds, and by the time the eye passes over Cuba, forecasts show it will be a Category 4 storm.

***

Update — Sunday 2 p.m. — The National Hurricane Center forecasts for Tropical Storm Ian now show the storm potentially making landfall between Tampa Bay and Escambia County with hurricane-storm force winds. The current forecasts show the storm reaching Category 4 Hurricane status as it strikes Western Cuba early Tuesday, and officials warn of mudslides on the island.

The storm should diminish in strength as it reaches the Gulf of Mexico and loses major hurricane status at sea. But it will still keep at least Cat 1 status, according to forecasts as it makes landfall.

The storm system is not moving as fast as initially expected and is now moving west-northwest at about 12 miles per hour. It could reach Florida early Thursday, according to the most recent forecast, or strike the Panhandle early Friday.

But forecasters warn the path is still unpredictable with various models predicting different paths and intensities.

***

Update — Sunday 11 a.m. — The National Hurricane Center updates its forecasts and believes Ian will be a major Category 4 Hurricane when it hits Western Cuba and will remain a major hurricane as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico and comes toward Florida.

There is increasing confidence the system will generate life-threatening storm surges in Cuba beginning late Monday.

Forecasters say there is greater uncertainty than normal about the track and intensity of the storm, but Florida should brace for a Category 4 storm. “Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of the week.”

A five-day storm track continues to show a possibility of the storm making landfall in Southwest Florida Wednesday or the Florida Panhandle early Friday.

***

Update — Sunday — 8:30 a.m. — President Biden approved a state of emergency declared for Florida in 24 counties.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced federal aid has been made available to supplement state, tribe and local resources spent preparing for the storm since Friday, Sept. 23.

A presidential order from Biden authorizes FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance to save lives and protect property, public health and safety and lessen or avert the threat of catastrophe.

The federal authorization is in effect in Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

***

Update — Sunday — 8 a.m. — The National Hurricane Center is now warning of flash floods and urban floods across the Florida Keys, as well as Cuba and Jamaica, through mid-week. Hurricane conditions are now expected early Monday in Cayman Island, and the storm is expected to become a major hurricane when it passes near or over western Cuba, delivering life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds on late Monday,

Forecasters expect the storm system to regain strength after it heads over Cuba and then heads toward Florida. But storm models show a greater level of uncertainty than usual, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A five-day storm forecast shows Ian could make landfall as far south as Collier County during the day on Wednesday, or in coastal Alabama early Friday.

“Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of the week, and residents in Florida should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place,” reads an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

***

Update — Saturday — 5 p.m. — Meteorologists expect Tropical Storm Ian to become a hurricane Sunday night, while uncertainty still is over where Ian will make landfall.

The storm led to the delay of a launch attempt this Tuesday for NASA’s Artemis I mission to the moon.

U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio also sent a letter to President Biden to approve Florida’s request for a federal pre-landfall disaster declaration ahead of the storm.

***

Update — Saturday — 1 p.m. — DeSantis has expanded the state of emergency statewide, amending Friday’s executive order.

The Governor made the decision as Tropical Storm Ian has sustained winds of 40 mph and continues to grow.

“The threat posed by Tropical Storm Ian requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, infrastructure and general welfare of Florida,” a news release from the Governor’s Office states.

***

Update — Saturday — 11 a.m. — Most of Florida remains in the path of the storm, although forecasters did shift the cone slightly west, removing much of the Keys and areas of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

The National Hurricane Center predicted a landfall sometime Wednesday north of Tampa, although heavy winds and rain may be felt across the state throughout the week. Much of the peninsula remains under a state of emergency as the path is still uncertain.

***

Update — Saturday — 9:45 a.m. — U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, Val Demings and Darren Soto will visit Puerto Rico this weekend in response to the devastation brought by Hurricane Fiona.

Although Fiona was only a Category 1 storm, it wreaked havoc on the island with flooding.

“The people of Puerto Rico continue to be in my heart and prayers following yet another devastating natural disaster,” said Charlie Crist. “The wounds of Maria have still not healed which is why it is so important for all of us — as private citizens and government officials — to provide all the support we can following yet another devastating storm.”

***

Update — Saturday — 8 a.m. — Tropical Storm Ian is moving along at 15 mph with 45 mph winds.

“A westward to west-northwestward motion is expected through early Sunday,” according to the NHC. “A turn to the northwest is forecast late Sunday, followed by a north-northwestward turn by late Monday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Ian is forecast to move across the central Caribbean Sea today, pass southwest of Jamaica on Sunday, and pass near or over the Cayman Islands Sunday night and early Monday. Ian will then approach western Cuba on Monday.”

Ian’s expected to develop into a hurricane sometime late Sunday.

***

Update — Saturday — 5 a.m. — Tropical Storm Ian grew overnight in the Caribbean still with a path that could bring it to Florida next week as a major Category 3 hurricane prompting Gov. DeSantis to declare a state of emergency in 24 counties.

The National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update puts Tropical Storm Ian’s center about 315 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and about 600 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph moving west at 14 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend out 45 miles.

***

Update — Friday — 11 p.m. — The National Hurricane Center (NHC) declared that Tropical Depression 9 had strengthened, forming a Tropical Storm. It is predicted to make landfall in Southwest Florida as a major hurricane around Wednesday afternoon.

***

There’s news in the tropics, and it’s not good. The message is to get ready because a storm is coming. Tropical Depression 9, while underpowered and far away at the moment, is predicted to make landfall in Southwest Florida as a major hurricane around Wednesday afternoon.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in Jamaica on Sunday. Hurricane conditions are expected in the Cayman Islands by early Monday.

As of the 11 p.m. update, maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph at the moment, with higher gusts. Ian is to significantly intensify Sunday and Monday, becoming a hurricane sometime Monday morning.

Staff Reports


11 comments

  • "Dum" Demwit Tom

    September 25, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Are you prepared for the “tropical 3 ocean twister?” – Tom DeDumbDumb 😂

    Reply

  • Hurricane Man

    September 25, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    I want to wreck you like Andrew and Katrina.

    Reply

  • Ian

    September 27, 2022 at 9:03 am

    Flushing those Democrats out of Pinellas County.

    Reply

  • Elliott Offen

    September 27, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Without Democrats, Florida would be Mississippi with a beach. Just a bunch of right wing maniacs grifting and incarcerating a bunch of stupid people to a husk.

    Reply

    • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

      September 27, 2022 at 9:50 am

      Come to Broward County. This place is full of displaced idiots from Democrat strongholds up North. Funny, they flee high taxes, high crime, big government then come down here and vote like they did up in those dumps they fled.

      Reply

      • Elliott Offen

        September 27, 2022 at 11:29 am

        ^ Florida redneck propaganda..

        Reply

  • Tjb

    September 27, 2022 at 9:48 am

    Hurricane heading toward home.

    Governor DeSantis I can’t find property insurance. Need help now. One company offer me insurance at double what I paid last year, but as today they dropped out of the Florida market. Help me Ron

    Reply

    • KurtinOC

      September 27, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Ron must be busy figuring out next Human Trafficking Flight from Texas to Boston .. Funded by Florida Tax Payers..

      In 3 days , he will be begging Sleepy Joe for funds ..

      Reply

  • Tom

    September 28, 2022 at 8:13 am

    I caught a 290 pound Tarpon last night. If you aren’t deep sea fishing right now then you ought to be. Once you get out past the shore it’s fine. A world record fish can be caught in these conditions. Don’t miss your chance people.

    Reply

  • David in Shoreline

    September 28, 2022 at 10:38 am

    Thank you Governor DeSantis for your leadership during this hurricane. I have no doubt your decisions will benefit Florida greatly during the recovery efforts.

    Reply

    • Joe Corsin

      September 28, 2022 at 10:45 am

      Leadership? I’m in Puta Gorda right now… hunkered down like DeSantis said…and there’s about to be 12 feet of water over my goddamn head! Are you nuts? About about to be dead because of the man!!!!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories