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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall as a category 4 hurricane, according to the latest information from the National Hurricane Center.
Model data released Tuesday afternoon showed the hurricane’s track shift further eastward, which put Sarasota and Charlotte County in the more direct line of impact.
“The 5 p.m. track shift did move the center of the cone slightly east of the previous forecast,” meteorologist Rebecca Barry said. “This means the worst storm surge will be in Charlotte Harbor and Sarasota County. We expect offshore winds in Tampa Bay which greatly reduces the amount of storm surge we will see there, with the exception of eastern Pinellas, where the winds will drive the water higher against the eastern coast of Pinellas county. The new track also shows that Ian will make landfall as a Category 4 storm, with 130 mph sustained winds.”
Tampa Bay is currently under a hurricane warning, meaning hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected in the area in the next 48 hours.
On Monday, several Tampa Bay area counties issued evacuation orders on Monday. Residents living in Zones A and B in Hillsborough County, Zone A and B in Manatee County, Zones A, B and C in Pinellas County, and in Level A and B in Sarasota County are affected.
In its 11 p.m. update, the NHC reported Ian was about 110 miles southwest of Naples. The storm was moving north-northeast at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.
Hurricane-storm-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 140 miles from the eye.
The system is now a major hurricane in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to strengthen on Tuesday night and Wednesday and approach the Gulf Coast as an “extremely dangerous hurricane,” the NHC said.
The path would put Ian just west of the Florida Keys Tuesday night and near the west coast of Florida in the hurricane warning area on Wednesday.
The NHC said central and northeast Florida could see 12 to 18 inches of rain with isolated totals of 24 inches. Heavy rainfall could lead to considerable flash, urban, and prolonged river flooding.
Tampa Bay and other parts of Florida are also under a storm surge warning, meaning the storm could raise water levels above normal tides.
According to the NHC, water could reach the following heights above ground in the following areas:
- Middle of Longboat Key to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor — 8-12 ft
- Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee — 6-10 ft
- Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa Bay — 4-6 ft
- Suwannee River to Anclote River — 3-5 ft
- Mouth of the St. Mary’s River to Altamaha Sound — 4-6 ft
- Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable — 4-7 ft
- Dry Tortugas — 3-5 ft
- Flagler/Volusia County Line to Mouth of the St. Mary’s River, including St. Johns River — 3-5 ft
- Altamaha Sound to Savannah River — 3-5 ft
- St. Johns River south of Julington — 2-4 ft
- Savannah River to South Santee River — 2-4 ft
- East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge — 2-4 ft
- Florida Keys — 2-4 ft
- Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line — 1-3 ft
- Indian Pass to Suwanee River — 1-3 ft
Here is a list of watches and warnings in effect as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Chokoloskee to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay
- Dry Tortugas
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
- Suwannee River southward to Flamingo
- Tampa Bay
- Dry Tortugas
- Flagler/Volusia Line to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River
- St. Johns River
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas
- Indian Pass to the Anclote River
- All of the Florida Keys
- Flamingo to South Santee River
- Flamingo to Chokoloskee
- Lake Okeechobee
- Florida Bay
- Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to Key West
- Florida Bay
- Mouth of St. Mary’s River to South Santee River