Ian’s forecast track shifts south, but exact landfall remains uncertain

This satellite image taken at 9:56 a.m. ET Tuesday shows Hurricane Ian passing over western Cuba.
This satellite image taken at 9:56 a.m. ET Tuesday shows Hurricane Ian passing over western Cuba. (NOAA via AP)

The center of Hurricane Ian emerged in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday morning, according to an 11 a.m. ET advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Ian’s winds have decreased only slightly to 115 mph as it travels west of Cuba, keeping the storm a Category 3. Ian is expected to strengthen again later today and become a category 4 before the end of the day. .

Ian’s expected track has moved about 25 miles south in the most recent warning, and landfall is expected to occur north of Venice, Florida, 6 to 12 hours earlier than expected previously Ian is still expected to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall around 8:00 PM local time Wednesday evening.

“On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico within a couple of hours, pass west of the Florida Keys later today and approach the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area Wednesday and Wednesday night,” the center said.

This also changes the highest expected surge, with the highest surge expected to be 8 to 12 feet, occurring south of Tampa Bay and north of Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor and the cities from Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. Storm surge in and around Tampa Bay, including St. Petersburg and Clearwater, is expected to be 5 to 8 feet.

“Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane,” the center said.

Ian is moving north at 10 mph and “a turn to the north-northeast is expected with reduced forward speed tonight and Wednesday,” he said.

“This is a life-threatening situation,” he stressed.

“People located within these areas should take all necessary steps to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other hazardous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials,” according to the notice.

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