11 a.m. update: Updated Cone - National Hurricane Center expecting landfall near Venice near 8 p.m. Wednesday
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The National Hurricane Center announced it expects Hurricane Ian to make landfall near Venice around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Hurricane Ian crossed over western Cuba Tuesday morning. It is a Category 3 storm with the highest sustained winds of 125 mph. The storm is expected to intensify into a Category 4 storm by Tuesday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center says there is still an unusually high uncertainty for the track of the storm. Latest trends in computer models are trending a bit more to the southeast. If that occurs, hurricane conditions will be the worst-case scenario for Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.
Ian is moving north at 12 mph. It will slow down in the Gulf of Mexico because the winds that steer the storm will be weaker. On its current projected track, Ian could make landfall Wednesday night in the Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay area.
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 2 a.m. Wednesday
- Manatee County Earliest: 2 a.m. Wednesday; Most likely 8 a.m. Wednesday
- Charlotte County: Earliest 9 p.m. Tuesday; Most likely midnight Wednesday
- Hardee County: Earliest 1 a.m. Wednesday; Most likely 6 a.m. Wednesday
- DeSoto County: Earliest 1 a.m. Wednesday; Most likely 6 a.m. Wednesday
Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph or higher, will be possible starting Wednesday morning 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 4-8 feet with the storm. Storm surges could reach 10-15 feet is Ian makes a more 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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