Hurricane Ian is making landfall in southwest Florida as one of the most powerful hurricanes on record, with a devastating storm surge, damaging winds, and torrential rainfall. Ian is a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.

Some coastal gauges are now reporting rising water levels, indicating the start of Ian’s storm surge, notably in Naples, Florida. Meanwhile, offshore winds caused a blowout tidal in Tampa Bay on Wednesday morning.

Heavy rain and severe wind gusts are currently hammering areas of the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys. Wind gusts of up to 62 mph have recently been recorded in Fort Myers and Fort Naples. On the Atlantic side of Melbourne, Florida, gusts of more than 40 mph have been recorded. Stuart, around 100 miles north of Miami, had street flooding.


Winds have gusted from 40 to 80 mph in Key West since Tuesday, resulting in the third biggest storm surge in over a century. Central and southern Florida are under a tornado watch until 5 p.m. EDT. Hurricane warnings now span the Florida Peninsula from southwest to central Florida’s Space Coast, including Tampa-St. Petersburg. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Daytona Beach are all popular vacation destinations. This means that hurricane conditions are likely.

A storm surge warning is also in effect along much of Florida’s west coast, from the Suwanee River mouth to the Lower Keys, including Tampa Bay, as well as on the Atlantic side, from the Flagler-Volusia County line in northeast Florida to the entire Georgia coast to Charleston County, South Carolina, including Florida’s St. Johns River. Rising water heading inland from the shore is predicted to cause life-threatening flooding.

A hurricane watch is in effect from the coast of northeast Florida to Charleston County, South Carolina, where hurricane conditions are likely. Tropical storm warnings are in effect from the Florida Keys to southeast Florida, from the northwestern Bahamas to the Florida Big Bend, and from northeast Florida to the North Carolina/South Carolina line.

Ian’s core is expected to make landfall this afternoon near Sarasota and Fort Myers. Ian is expected to remain a Category 4 storm but might make an exceedingly unusual Category 5 landfall this afternoon. No matter what, Ian will be one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit southwest Florida. It will kill people and cause a lot of damage.

Central Florida Forecast

Following that, Ian will travel across the central Florida peninsula, weakening to a tropical storm. Ian could then briefly appear over the Atlantic before returning to the Georgia or South Carolina coasts as a tropical storm or low-end hurricane on Friday and Friday night.

A storm surge will be catastrophic along sections of the southwest Florida coast. A peak surge of up to 18 feet is expected around and south of the center’s landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday. This could include the area between Englewood and Bonita Beach, as well as Charlotte Harbor.

Nobody alive has ever seen a storm surge as high as the one predicted for Ian in southwest Florida, according to NHC senior meteorologist Eric Blake on Wednesday morning. According to National Weather Service data, this could be a record storm surge for southwest Florida.

Beginning late Wednesday or Thursday, a storm surge is also forecast on the Atlantic side of northeast Florida and into coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Given the possible wind direction out of the northeast, the St. Johns River in northeast Florida may back up and flood.

Due to strong onshore winds even as Ian’s core moves further away, coastal flooding in western Florida and along the locations highlighted below along the Atlantic Southeast Coast may extend through Friday or even early Saturday.

Ian’s wind damage will be devastating near the point where its eyewall tracks inland onto the southwest Florida shore. This will cover the shoreline from Sarasota through Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. In regions under hurricane and tropical storm warnings, power outages and toppled trees are likely. In areas with high winds, these outages could extend for days or weeks.

Structural damage is possible, with the greatest concern in western and southern Florida, where the hurricane’s core tracks. Heavy rain is another dangerous threat from the Florida Peninsula into the Southeast this weekend.

This torrential rain is expected to cause serious, potentially catastrophic flash floods in sections of Florida, particularly in urban areas, as well as river flooding that will linger for days after Ian. When Ian or a piece of it moves through the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states this weekend, especially in mountainous areas, there could be more heavy rain and flash flooding.

Tornadoes are also expected to be a hazard across much of the Florida Peninsula on Wednesday, in northeast Florida on Thursday, and along the Carolina coast on Friday.

Continue to read more latest news

 443 total views,  1 views today