Home Weather Ian Now A Catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane And Strengthening

Ian Now A Catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane And Strengthening

UPDATE: Hurricane Ian continues to intensify as it approaches the Florida Gulf coast.  At 7 am, Ian’s maximum sustained winds were 155 miles per hour — just short of category 5 strength.
At 7 am, Ian was about 65 miles west-southwest of Naples and 80 miles south-southwest of Punta Gorda.  Ian was moving north-northeast at 9 miles per hour.

Hurricane Ian will be a catastrophic event for portions of Florida’s Gulf coast.  This is a category 4 hurricane with an eyewall diameter of about 30 miles.  The Gulf coast from Sarasota to Naples is at greatest risk as Ian makes landfall on Wednesday.  Everyone, there should be sheltering in a safe place and should stay there until local authorities say it’s safe to venture out.

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There’s a hurricane warning and a storm surge warning for much of the Gulf coast, including southwest Florida.  There’s a tropical storm warning for all of Florida’s Atlantic coast — including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach — and the Florida Keys.

Wednesday will see the worst weather from Ian here in South Florida.  The Naples area can expect hurricane conditions, including damaging winds, flooding rain, and life-threatening storm surge.  The east coast metro area can expect periods of tropical storm force winds, especially as Ian’s rainbands move through.  Flooding rain is expected in the east coast metro area.  Isolated tornadoes are possible around South Florida.  Needless to say, there’s a high risk of dangerous rip currents at all South Florida beaches.  Highs on Wednesday will be in the mid-80s.

Thursday will be windy and stormy along the Gulf coast, while the east coast metro area will be windy with a mix of sun, clouds, and showers.  Expect flood conditions to linger through Thursday.  Thursday’s highs will be in the mid-80s.

Friday will be breezy with sun, clouds, and periods of storms.  Friday’s highs will be in the upper 80s in the east coast metro area and the mid-80s along the Gulf coast.

Saturday will feature a return to more typical weather:  a mix of sun, showers, and storms.  Saturday’s highs will be in the upper 80s.

Sunday’s forecast calls for good sun with some passing showers and storms in spots.  Highs on Sunday will be near 90 degrees in the east coast metro area and in the upper 80s along the Gulf coast.

Hurricane Ian was about 105 miles south-southwest of Punta Gorda at 5 am.  Ian’s position at 5 am was near 25.6 North, 82.9 West.  Maximum sustained winds were 140 miles per hour, making this a category 4 hurricane.  Ian was moving north-northeast at 10 miles per hour.  Bottom line:  Ian is as strong a hurricane as 2004’s Hurricane Charley when it hit the same portion of the coast.  But Ian is a much wider hurricane with a larger eyewall, so more of the area will see devastating damage from Ian than was the case with Charley.

Elsewhere, the low in the central Atlantic has a high chance of developing into a depression today, but it won’t last long — and it does not pose a threat to land.

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.