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Florida Is Closely Watching Ian And Preparing

We continue to watch the tropics and prepare for the effects of what is likely to become Hurricane Ian in the coming days.  Make sure your preparations are completed by early Monday, and pay attention to messages from your local emergency management officials.

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Saturday features a mix of sun, clouds, and a few storms in the morning.  Look for more showers and storms in the afternoon, lasting into the evening.  A high risk of dangerous rip currents is in place along the Palm Beach County coast, and there’s a moderate rip current risk at the beaches of Broward and Miami-Dade.  Highs on Saturday will be in the upper 80s right at the Atlantic coast and in the low 90s elsewhere.

Sunday will feature a mix of sun, clouds, and showers in the east coast metro area.  The Gulf coast will be sunny in the morning, but storms will develop in the afternoon.  Sunday’s highs will be near 90 degrees.

Monday’s weather will depend on the situation in the tropics.  For now, we’ll look for showers and storms on a building breeze.  Tropical storm force gusts could arrive in the Keys and portions of mainland South Florida Monday night.  Monday’s highs will be in the upper 80s.

Tuesday’s weather will be dominated by Ian.  Tropical storm conditions are likely in the east coast metro area, and hurricane force winds, heavy rain, and storm surge flooding are likely along the Gulf coast.  Tuesday’s highs will be in the mid-80s.

Wednesday’s forecast depends on how quickly Ian moves away from South Florida.  For now, we’ll say that hurricane conditions are possible well into Wednesday along the Gulf coast, and tropical storm force winds and periods of heavy rain are possible in the east coast metro area much of the day.  Highs on Wednesday will be mostly in the mid-80s.

Our big story is Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to become a hurricane this weekend.  At 5 am, Ian was located about 315 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and 600 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.  Maximum sustained winds were 45 miles per hour, and Ian was moving west at 14 miles per hour.  There’s a tropical storm watch for Jamaica and a hurricane watch for the Cayman Islands.  Most of Florida is in the 4-to-5 day cone.  South Florida is likely to see deteriorating weather on Monday night and the worst conditions on Tuesday into much of Wednesday — but this timeline could change somewhat.  Ian is likely to undergo rapid intensification this weekend and is expected to be a major hurricane when it approaches Florida.  Now is the time to start your hurricane preparations.  And be sure to keep updated on Ian’s progress this weekend and Monday.

Fiona is now a powerful post-tropical cyclone that’s passing over Nova Scotia early on Saturday.  At 5 am, Fiona was about 160 miles northeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Maximum sustained winds were 90 miles per hour, and Fiona was moving north at 26 miles per hour.  This is a historic storm for Atlantic Canada, and it has already broken the record for the lowest pressure ever recorded there.

Gaston is bringing tropical storm conditions to the western and central Azores.  At 5 am, Tropical Storm Gaston had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, and it was moving west-southwest at 9 miles per hour.  Conditions in the Azores should improve Saturday evening, and Gaston is expected to become a post-tropical system sometime on Saturday.

As if that isn’t enough, what was Tropical Depression # 10 is now Tropical Storm Hermine.  At 5 am, Hermine was about 360 miles northeast of the Cape Verde Islands.  Maximum sustained winds were 40 miles per hour, and Hermine was moving north at 10 miles per hour.  Hermine will bring heavy rain and dangerous flash flooding to the Canary Islands on Saturday and Sunday.

Finally, the wave in the central Atlantic has a low chance of becoming a depression as it drifts over the open ocean.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.