As Hurricane Ian bears down on Florida’s west coast, impacts will be felt statewide.
Duval County and Northeast Florida will be no exception to that rule.
The storm center is expected to take roughly three days parallel to the peninsula, similar to Irma in 2017. But there are differences as well, which hopefully will mean that Jacksonville escapes the flooding of that historic storm.
Ian is a smaller storm and its path across the state means it will likely weaken before the center gets this far north. But as a measure of the ultimate uncertainty of the track, Duval County is well north of the current advisories.
Divergence between the Euro and GFS models adds another measure of uncertainty as to the ultimate track, but the likelihood of a significant rain event is almost absolute. Whether it will be as “bad” as Irma, which resulted in historic flooding throughout the region, is as of now an open question. But those who were subject to water rescue five years ago likely would recommend evacuation if flooding is a danger.
“As a reminder. Irma raised the St John’s 5.5 feet and gave us 12-20” of rain. Current (forecast) is : 3-4 ft rise of St John’s and 6–12” of rainfall,” tweeted Jacksonville weather forecaster Tim Deegan Monday. Deegan has decades of experience with storms and Northeast Florida.
Stiff northeastern winds will likely affect overhead power transmission, and the ultimate ability to restore power from those outages will depend on wind strength. Under current projections, however, the region will be spared the severe wind impacts much more likely downstate and farther to the west when and if it makes landfall.
Mayor Lenny Curry has seen the region through storm events before, including but not limited to Irma and 2016’s Matthew, which menaced the region off the Atlantic Coast. Expect active and engaged leadership this week as the storm nears and the threat becomes real, especially for those in low-lying and waterfront areas.
A.G. Gancarski will discuss Ian on WJCT at 9 a.m. Monday.