2 p.m. update: Hurricane Ian entering Gulf of Mexico, heading to the Suncoast
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Hurricane Ian is entering the Gulf of Mexico this afternoon. It is a Category 3 with highest sustained winds of 120 mph. The storm is expected to intensify into a Category 4 storm late Tuesday.
Trends in computer models are taking the storm more to the southeast. If that occurs, hurricane conditions will be worst-case scenario for Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties.
Ian is moving north at 10 mph. On its current projected track, Ian could make landfall Wednesday evening in the Sarasota Bay area. As it makes landfall it could slow to a forward speed of only 5 mph. The slower movement will prolong the hurricane effects on the Suncoast. The earliest time for tropical storm force winds, winds 40 mph to 73 mph, are estimated as follows:
- · Sarasota County Earliest: 10 p.m. Tuesday; Most likely 1 a.m. Wednesday
- · Manatee County Earliest: Midnight Wednesday; Most likely 4 a.m. Wednesday
- · Charlotte County: Earliest 7 p.m. Tuesday; Most likely 10 p.m. Tuesday
- · Hardee County: Earliest 1 a.m. Wednesday; Most likely 5 a.m. Wednesday
- · DeSoto County: Earliest 1 a.m. Wednesday; Most likely 5 a.m. Wednesday
Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph or higher, will be possible starting midday Wednesday through Thursday morning. An extended period of winds 100 mph or stronger will be possible for much of that time. Downed trees and power lines are likely Wednesday into Thursday, and power could be out in some areas for several days. Power crews do not venture out to begin repairs until peak sustained winds are lower than 35 mph.
Rainfall with the storm could reach 8-12 inches. Storm surges on the Suncoast waterways could be 5-10 feet with the storm. Storm surges could reach 10-15 feet where Ian makes a direct landfall on the Suncoast. The storm surge is a wall of water ahead of the storm. Expect major flooding, flooded roads, and flooding on rivers Wednesday.
Isolated tornadoes will be possible Tuesday and Wednesday as Ian moves through.
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