Track Hurricane Ian 5am

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Ian has strengthened into a Category 3 storm and is continuing to strengthen as it sweeps across western Cuba Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

The NHC issued a hurricane warning for Tampa Bay Monday night. This means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) can be expected in the area within the next 48 hours.

Several counties in the Tampa Bay area issued evacuation orders Monday. Affected residents live in Zone A in Hillsborough County, Zone A in Manatee County, Zones A, B, and C in Pinellas County, and Level A in Sarasota County.

The storm made landfall in La Coloma, Cuba at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. In its 5 a.m. advisory, the NHC said Ian was about 175 miles south-southwest of the Dry Tortugas and about 5 miles south of Pinar del Río, Cuba, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.

The storm was moving from the north-northwest at 13 mph, with gale force winds spreading up to 35 miles from its center and tropical gale force winds spreading up to 115 miles from the eye extended.

The eye of the storm was expected to be near the country’s west coast as of Tuesday morning. The system was expected to emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and remain a major hurricane, according to the NHC.

The trail would take Ian into the hurricane warning area west of the Florida Keys on Tuesday night and near the west coast of Florida on Wednesday and Thursday.

“This morning, two of our forecasting models, the GFS and the European models, came closer to agreement. Both models turn the storm east earlier, potentially making landfall somewhere between Pinellas and Sarasota counties late Wednesday through early Thursday,” said Storm Team 8 meteorologist Leigh Spann.

The area could see 12 to 16 inches of rain, with isolated amounts of up to 24 inches seen in some areas. The heavy rains could cause significant downpours and flooding in cities, as well as long-lasting river flooding. Some tornadoes will be possible in parts of Florida Tuesday and Wednesday, the NHC said.

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:

  • Anclote River to mid-Longboat Key, FL, including Tampa Bay – 5-10 feet
  • Suwannee River to Anclote River – 5-8 feet
  • Midway from Longboat Key, FL to Englewood, FL – 5-8 feet
  • Englewood, FL to Bonita Beach, FL including Charlotte Harbor – 4-7 feet
  • Bonita Beach, FL to East Cape Sable, FL – 3-5 feet
  • Flagler/Volusia County Line, FL to Altamaha Sound including St. Johns River – 2-4 feet
  • East Cape Sable, FL to Card Sound Bridge, FL, including Florida Bay – 2-4 feet
  • Aucilla River to Suwannee River – 2-4 feet
  • Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas – 2-4 ft
  • Indian Pass, FL to Aucilla River – 1-3 feet

Here’s a summary of the guards and alerts in effect Tuesday at 5am.

A hurricane warning applies to:

  • Cuban provinces Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa
  • Bonita Beach to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay
  • Dry Tortugas

A storm surge warning applies to:

  • Anclote River south to Flamingo
  • Tampa Bay

A tropical storm warning applies to:

  • Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque and Matanzas
  • Lower Florida Keys from the Seven Mile Bridge west to Key West
  • Flamingo to Bonita Beach
  • Suwannee River to Anclote River
  • Volusia/Brevard County Line south to Jupiter Inlet
  • Lake Okeechobee

A storm surge warning applies to:

  • Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westbound to Key West
  • Dry Tortugas
  • Florida Bay
  • Aucilla River to Anclote River
  • From Altamaha Sound to the Flagler/Volusia County Line
  • Saint Johns River

A hurricane watch is in effect forr:

  • North of the Anclote River to the Suwannee River

A tropical storm watch is in effect forr:

  • North of the Suwannee River to Indian Pass
  • Line between Altamaha Sound and Volusia/Brevard County
  • Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet

On the trail of Hurricane Ian

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>> Download the Max Defender 8 app Track Hurricane Ian 5am

Tom Vazquez

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