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Ian Is Now A “Major” Hurricane

Ian is now a major hurricane, and it poses a huge threat to Florida’s Gulf coast.  In South Florida, there’s now a tropical storm warning from Bonita Beach southward to Flamingo.  There’s also a tropical storm warning for the Lower and Middle Keys.  A tropical storm watch is now in effect from Deerfield Beach northward to Jupiter.  Storm surge will be a major threat along the Gulf coast, and there’s a storm surge warning for most of the Gulf coast of Florida — including Collier County.  Tropical storm conditions are possible later today along the Collier County coast and in the Lower and Middle Keys, so complete your preparations now.

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Tuesday features heavy rain and breezy conditions around South Florida during the day.  The Gulf coast could see tropical storm conditions on Tuesday afternoon.  A flood watch is in effect.  Winds will increase around South Florida during the evening.  A high risk of dangerous rip currents is in place at the Atlantic beaches.  Expect hazardous beach conditions, including dangerous rip currents, at the Gulf beaches.  Highs on Tuesday will be in the mid-80s.

Wednesday will see the closest approach of Hurricane Ian to South Florida.  Tropical storm conditions are possible around South Florida, including winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour, very heavy rain, storm surge flooding, and isolated tornadoes.  Street flooding is likely in many locations.  Wednesday’s highs will be in the upper 80s in the east coast metro area and the mid-80s along the Gulf coast.

Thursday will see windy conditions and lots of showers in the east coast metro area, so flooding will continue to be a problem.  Tropical storm conditions could linger throughout Thursday along the Gulf coast as Ian slowly pulls away.  Thursday’s highs will be in the upper 80s in the east coast metro area and the mid 80s along the Gulf coast.

Friday will see the return of the sun, but showers and storms will be around, especially in western parts of South Florida.  Look for breezy conditions along the Gulf coast.  Friday’s highs will be in the upper 80s in the east coast metro area and the mid 80s along the Gulf coast.

Saturday’s forecast calls for a mix of sun, clouds, showers, and a few storms.  Highs on Saturday will be in the upper 80s.

Hurricane Ian is a major hurricane and is forecast to continue strengthening once it exits Cuba.  At 5 am, Ian was located near 22.3 North, 83.7 West, over Pinar del Rio in western Cuba.  Maximum sustained winds were 125 miles per hour, and Ian was moving north at 12 miles per hour.  A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Gulf coast from Flamingo northward to Bonita Beach and for the Middle and Lower Keys.  A hurricane warning is in effect from Bonita Beach northward along the Gulf coast to the Anclote River — including Tampa Bay.  Ian is expected to slow considerably as it makes its way to the Florida coast, so expect a prolonged period of hazardous weather conditions.  For South Florida, we can expect the effects of Ian to linger into Thursday.  It will be worse to our north. The Tampa metro area is uniquely vulnerable to storm surge — and Ian has the potential to cause catastrophic damage along Tampa Bay.  This could be Tampa’s worst hurricane event since 1921.

Elsewhere in the tropics, the low in the central Atlantic has a high chance of becoming a depression, but it’s not expected to last long or threaten 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.