Thoughts on Hurricane Ian as of 12:10pm EDT

12:10pm EDT update: The morning computer models are showing Hurricane Ian coming close to Tampa Bay and slowing down. If it comes to pass, this increases the risk of damage (and death or injury) from the storm surge combined with high waves. In addition, it makes rainfall amounts for greater than 15 inches possible in the central and southern Florida Peninsula. 

If you live in the Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater areas and are in a mandatory evacuation zone, please follow the directions of local authorities. 

-- My Earlier Post --

Ian became a hurricane overnight and continues to strengthen with a central pressure of 980 millibars and winds of 80 mph (the latter as of 11 am). 

Radar at Grand Cayman shows a much better defined eye this morning as of 10:53am.
The storm is moving toward the north northwest at this time but will turn toward the north during the day. Hurricane warnings are in effect for western Cuba.

As for the United States, here is the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) path forecast as of 11am. It looks very good to me. 
  • Red = Hurricane Warning
  • Pink = Hurricane Watch
  • Blue = Tropical Storm Warning
  • Yellow = Tropical Storm Watch
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Florida Keys. I'm very surprised there isn't a hurricane warning for the western Keys. If I were in Key West, I would move east before the storm arrives.

NHC's wind speed forecast is forecasting Ian to reach 140 mph (Cat 4) when it is in the open Gulf southwest of Tampa. This means the storm has the potential to cause a considerable storm surge and well as extremely high surf. 

Below is the preliminary storm surge forecast from NHC. Mandatory evacuations are now in effect in the Tampa - St. Petersburg Metro. Below is an updated storm surge forecast as of 11am.
Imagine being under 9 feet of water! That is what will happen in the storm surge in the Tampa Bay area.
Please click to enlarge and get details. A storm surge of more than six feet is forecast to occur around Port Charlotte, Ft. Myers and Tampa Bay. The interactive forecast is here.

These are the times by which your precautions need to be completed.

Flooding rains are highly likely. There will be higher amounts in spots. 

On Wednesday, there is an enhanced risk of tornadoes in the Florida Peninsula (yellow).
This is the time to sign up for our new StormWarn System. If a tornado warning is issued for your subscribed location (usually a home), it will ring your home phone plus your cell phone (or two cell phones). It will also ring for thunderstorm wind gusts of 80 mph or higher. It also sends you an immediate email showing the radar location of the storm and the location of your home. 

Tornadoes will be possible in northern Florida and Georgia on Thursday, so I recommend StormWarn for you, also. 


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