(WANE) – Hurricane Ian is likely to be the worst storm to impact the west coast of Florida in quite some time. The dangerous storm is a major hurricane and poses a significant threat to the life and property of Florida residents.
As of 11 PM Tuesday, Hurricane Warnings now stretch throughout Central Florida and along the west coast. Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, and even Orlando are included. The warnings last until further notice.
The majority of the west coast of the Florida peninsula is also included in a Storm Surge Warning. This type of warning was first introduced by the National Weather Service in 2017. Storm surges of nine feet or higher are possible with Ian. There is also an area along the east coast in northern Florida that could see some higher surge and also has a warning in place.
Tornadoes are the other hazard associated with hurricanes, particularly on the east side of the storm. For Ian, the east side is so dangerous because of the motion of the storm. The strongest winds, the highest storm surge, and the spin in the atmosphere here is an extremely dangerous combination. A slight risk of severe weather is in place for Wednesday across much of Florida (a level 2 out of 5). Tornadoes in a tropical system can form and dissipate quickly, making them extra dangerous.
Remember, a category 3 hurricane has winds up to 129 mph. Ian is still expected to reach up into the category 4 status before making landfall.
It has been a long time since a major hurricane has struck the Tampa Bay area. You have to go back 101 years to find the last one. We’ll have to watch and see where the storm ends up making landfall, but the major impacts will be widespread. Remember the impacts from a hurricane extend well beyond the eyewall of the hurricane, where the strongest winds are found.
Ian is another letter “I” storm that could be retired by the World Meteorological Organization from the rotating list of Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane names. In fact, 25 percent of retired names since 2000 have been “I” names.
As far as local impacts are concerned, we could see some clouds and showers from the remnants of the storm late in the weekend and early next week, but this remains quite uncertain. You can check back for updates by visiting our WANE 15 Forecast Page.
The Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team is keeping all of those impacted by the storm in our thoughts. We hope everyone stays safe as the storm impacts Florida and portions of the southeast United States.