Hurricane Ian has strengthened to a category 2 storm as of the 5PM advisory. It is moving NNW at 13 mph, headed towards western Cuba. Landfall is expected here overnight tonight, and at that point it could be a major hurricane. Further strengthening is likely once it enters the Gulf of Mexico, potentially reaching category 4 strength. This is due to low wind shear and warm Gulf temperatures. It will begin to shift towards the east, due to an upper level trough over the eastern United States. Movement will be slow though, which means devastating rainfall is possible over Florida.

The time and exact location of landfall is still uncertain. It looks to be sometime Thursday between Cedar Key and Tampa, FL. Fortunately, wind shear will come into play which will decrease its strength back to a category 1 or 2 by landfall. Regardless- storm surge, winds, and rain will be a big problem along the western coast of Florida.

For us in the CSRA, we will begin to see impacts late Thursday which will continue until early Sunday. Vipir 6 Alert days are in effect Thursday-Saturday. Friday and Saturday will be our wettest days, with 2-4″ likely. Wind gusts will mostly be under 25 mph, but a 40 mph wind gust can’t be ruled out. When it comes to severe weather, the biggest concern will be tornadoes. Ian will just be a low pressure area by the time it reaches us, but when we have those move over us, spin up tornadoes are possible. The threat is still isolated at this time and not widespread.

Stay with us all of this week for updates on Hurricane Ian.