Tropical Storm Ian Could Hit Florida as a Major Hurricane

Forecasters predicted that Tropical Storm Ian, which developed late on Friday over the central Caribbean Sea, will grow on Sunday and intensify into a hurricane near western Cuba before posing a severe hurricane danger to Florida this week.

According to forecasters, Ian, which was as of Sunday night around 430 miles southeast of the western point of Cuba, was predicted to develop into a hurricane on Monday and a major storm on Tuesday. On Monday and Tuesday, it was predicted that the storm would intensify quickly.

Jamie Rhome, the interim director of the National Hurricane Center, stated in a briefing on Sunday that Ian would be a sizable and powerful hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and would have an extensive impact on the Florida peninsula.

The Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning on Sunday for parts of western Cuba, warning of “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds” starting on Monday. The centre issued a tropical storm watch for portions of the Florida Keys on Sunday night.

It stated on Sunday that “efforts to preserve life and property should be hurried to completion.”

Some Florida school districts made shutdown announcements in advance of the hurricane. Because county officials intended to utilise numerous schools as storm shelters beginning on Monday, Hillsborough County Public Classrooms stated that it had “no option but to close schools” Monday through Thursday. Schools and workplaces will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Pasco County Schools.

According to the Hurricane Center, the Florida Keys may receive two to four inches of rain through Tuesday evening, with some locations receiving up to six inches. The hurricane centre also warned that flash and urban flooding could happen throughout the Keys and Florida peninsula. In mountainous terrain in Jamaica and Cuba, mudslides and flash floods are also potential hazards.

A day after announcing a state of emergency for all 67 counties in Florida, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, stressed the storm’s persistent unpredictability during a press conference on Sunday.

Just don’t believe that you don’t need to prepare if you’re not in that eye, he said. He advised the populace to prepare for potential power outages, gasoline shortages, and evacuation orders.

Although the storm is not yet “overly remarkable” from a satellite perspective, Mr. Rhome warned that this may change as Ian develops and become “a bit unnerving as that satellite really grows out.”

I urge you to spend the remainder of today to complete your preparation while it’s peaceful because once they notice that, a lot of people will rush to the stores.

Mr. Rhome stated, “I’m telling you, it doesn’t need an onshore or direct strike from a storm to pile up the water. The surge vulnerability along the west coast of Florida is really extreme.”

The Florida Organization of Emergency Management’s director, Kevin Guthrie, announced during a press conference that as of Sunday afternoon, the division had 360 trailers filled with food and water that were prepared to be distributed to people.

In order to enable direct government help, President Biden issued an emergency declaration for 24 counties in Florida.

According to predictions, Ian will move close to or over western Cuba late on Monday and early Tuesday before passing close to or over the Cayman Islands on Monday.

According to the centre, Ian is predicted to produce three to six inches of rain in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, six to ten inches in western Cuba, with up to sixteen inches probable.

Forecasters warned that this rainfall might cause mudslides and flash floods in locations with higher topography, notably in Jamaica and Cuba.

Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa were under a hurricane alert as of Sunday night. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac were under a tropical storm watch, and La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas provinces of Cuba were under a tropical storm warning.

The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season has nine named storms, with Ian becoming the ninth. When a storm achieves wind speeds of at least 39 m.p.h., it is given a name.

With just three named storms before September 1 and none in August, the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, got off to a relatively tranquil start. This was the first time since 1997 that this had occurred. With Danielle and Earl, which developed a day apart, storm activity increased in early September.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s meteorologists adjusted their prognosis for the remainder of the season in early August, although they continued to call for above-average levels of activity. According to their forecast, which is valid until Nov. 30 this year, the season may see 14 to 20 named storms, with six to ten of those developing into hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 74 mph.

Three to five of those might develop into significant hurricanes, or Category 3 or greater storms with winds of at least 111 mph, according to NOAA.

After a record-breaking 30 named storms in 2020, there were 21 storms last year. Meteorologists have run out of names to use to designate storms during the Atlantic hurricane season for the previous two years; this has only happened once before, in 2005.

With each passing year, it is more and more obvious how storms and climate change are related. Data indicates that during the past forty years, storm strength has increased globally. Although the total number of storms may decrease due to reasons like increasing wind shear that prevent smaller storms from developing, a warmer globe should expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher occurrence of the most intense storms.

Scientists believe that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 delivered far more rain than they would have without human influences on climate. This is because hurricanes are getting wetter due to increasing water vapour in the warming atmosphere. Additionally, storm surge, the most devastating component of tropical cyclones, is increasing as a result of rising sea levels.

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