Hurricane Ian Set to Become Major Storm, Impact West Coast of Florida

I know Florida isn’t my coverage area – but I know there are many who are planning vacations, have family in the projected impact zone or some who may themselves, be there currently. My intention is to follow this storm for the next week and give daily updates along the way to keep all in its path updated.


  • Ian is currently a Category 1 hurricane with winds at 80mph, located to the south of Cuba.
  • Some interaction with Cuba could weaken the storm very briefly but will emerge into the gulf in a powerful fashion, likely ending up as a Category 4 storm.
  • The Keys and Southern/Southeast Florida will MOST LIKELY escape major impacts…some rain, breezy conditions possible.
  • Landfall will occur somewhere near Tampa – I’m honing in on an area just north sometime early Thursday morning.
  • Significant storm surge upwards of 9′ is possible along the west coast and will stack the bay areas
  • Tornadoes are expected as Ian gets closer to land
  • Ian will weaken but likely slow down through Northern Florida and on its journey through the southeast.
  • Impact to OUR area, in a much reduced version will likely be sometime late weekend / early next week.


I recognize there are some that just want the quick-hitting facts and those who want a more detailed explanation so I’ve come up with a system that works for all kinds of people. Let’s get started for those of you who like to know every bit of info.


There have been no storms in the Gulf. The water is not churned up. It’s bath water essentially with readings in the mid and upper 80s. Perfect breeding ground for a tropical cyclone to rapidly intensify. Yesterday Ian was a loosely organized area of thunderstorms – overnight it was upgraded to a Cat 1 storm and will get stronger as the day goes on. I fully expect it to be a Major (Cat 3+) hurricane by tomorrow some point.

There will be some interaction with the western-most portion of Cuba, but I do NOT expect that to get in the way in any big way. The storm is moving at about 15mph so the center may only be over land for a few hours at most. Once it emerges into the open gulf, it will take off like a jet.


This isn’t a new concept. There are times storms can get really strong in a short period of time. We’ve seen it several times in the past few years. Hurricane Michael comes to mind… Anyway it has to do with intense convection and an explosion of thunderstorm activity around the center of the storm. When this happens, the pressure drops quickly. General rule of thumb? 1mb per hour. Yesterday the central pressure was about 1006mb. At the latest advisory, in the lower 980s. That qualifies for sure. We will likely see the pressure get down into the 940s!

Ian will likely develop a defined eye by tonight. It certainly has that classic look coming together even right now!


I think the worst winds will stay away from folks south of Tampa Bay…but those along the coast will likely see some significant tidal flooding. As Ian approaches, there will be showers and storms that breakout. Don’t forget that even if the center is a hundred + miles off-shore, it doesn’t mean you avoid rain all together…breezy conditions as well. I think there will also be some tornadic thunderstorms in the mix as well.

Here’s the latest Wind Prediction from the National Hurricane Center:

You’ll see the worse winds along the coast…could get windy in other parts of the state, but damaging winds should remain closer to the center. Time will tell how far out the strongest travel from that center. We will figure that out by later tomorrow.


Most areas could see an addiitonal 3-6′ of water pile in ontop of the established tides. If Ian continues to intensify rapidly, that number would jump to 6-9′. Even if Tampa misses out on the worst of the wind, Ian is going to generate very large swells off-shore and with the strong southerly flow, that water will be stacking right into the bay. Add in 4-8″ of rain on top of this? Not a good situation to be in in regards to water and flooding. I know there are many New Jerseyians on vacation in SW Florida so I will keep updating on different impacts through the week.

Ian should approach SW Florida LATE Wednesday night / Thursday early morning.


As Ian approaches Florida in the next couple days, we will start paying VERY close attention to where folks are located relative to the center of circulation. Every part of a tropical system brings different types of weather.

Broken down by quadrant, the following weather can be expected…

NW – Heaviest rain. This is where the highest totals are seen.

NE – Heavy rain, strong winds the primary issue. Isolated tornadoes

SE – High surf, less rain but wailing southerly winds increase flooding

SW – Not a whole lot goin’ on. Some showers, broken sun

We will use this scope to follow Ian AFTER landfall to figure out what impacts are likely for us by late this weekend into early next week.


Obviously the BIG question is “How will it impact us?” Put simply, we just don’t know. Obviously the storm will climb latitude and find itself into our region in SOME fashion, but we won’t know exact impacts probably until Wednesday. All comes down to track. There are three options on the table as far as I’m concerned

  • DIRECT – This would bring the center up through the Appalachian trail and put us on the east side. The torndao concern would grow IF the center kept its energy. This, I believe would be the worst case and something we should all be rooting against.
  • OUT TO SEA – Some models are picking up on the idea Ian could ride north and then emerge off-shore of the Carolinas. This would give us some rain and breezy conditions but the worst would avoid us.
  • TO THE WEST – The center would go through West Virginia / Western PA and we’d get some much needed rain but the severe weather aspect would be limited. This is the solution I’m personally rooting for.

Again, time will tell. I’ll keep a very close eye on it as we go into the week. Stay tuned, don’t forget to download my weather app – NorCast Weather and be weather aware!

By the way, I’m excited to announce my new email subscription service! Get a personalized email EVERY day at 6am right to your inbox complete with day planner and video without having to go to social media! Click the banner for details!

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