Ian continues to organize -- forecast to be a hurricane late Sunday

Forecast models still show the storm becoming a major hurricane early this week

Forecast models still show the storm becoming a major hurricane early next week

Ian continues to try to become better organized overnight Saturday night into early Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 50 MPH and gusts to 65 MPH, moving to the West-Northwest at 12 MPH. As we head throughout the day, we expect additional strengthening, if not a rapid intensification of Ian, which is still forecast to become a hurricane late Sunday night into early Monday morning.

Tropical Storm Ian Statistics - 5:00 AM Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Ian will move into an environment that appears quite conducive for strengthening. Once the center of circulation becomes more defined, any kind of wind shear will relax. With very warm surface temperatures on the water, these conditions are expected to allow for rapid intensification while Ian moves over in the northwestern Caribbean Sea. Some forecast models show a 90% chance of rapid strengthening during the next 48 to 72 hours. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center calls for rapid intensification to begin later on Sunday and is forecast to be a major hurricane when it nears western Cuba.

Tropical Storm Ian Statistics - 5:00 AM Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Once the system moves into the Gulf of Mexico, there will be an increase in wind shear, which is predicted by most of the global models, and we are forecasting Ian to weaken as it approaches the Florida coastline. Despite the reduction in the forecast intensity of the storm, Ian is likely to have an expanding wind field and will be slowing down by that time, which will have the potential to produce significant wind in storm surge impacts along the Florida coastline.

Tropical Storm Ian Forecast Path - 5:00 AM Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Ian is expected to remain a major hurricane when it moves generally northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the middle of next week, but uncertainty in the track forecast is higher than usual. Regardless of Ian’s exact track, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next week, and residents in Florida should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, follow any advice given by local officials, and closely monitor updates to the forecast.

After becoming a major hurricane, Ian is forecast to make landfall along the big bend of Florida

About the Author:

Bryan joined the WDIV 4Warn Weather Team in May 2022 as a meteorologist, and is also an experienced middle & high school teacher.