Severe Hurricane From Caribbean Heading To Florida
There is currently a tropical depression in the Caribbean, and the National Hurricane Center predicts that by next Wednesday, it will have moved into the Gulf of Mexico and will have made landfall on Florida’s west coast as a hurricane (and perhaps a major hurricane).
Although the official forecast path from the hurricane center maintains the storm well away from the Alabama Gulf Coast, the track has changed slightly west today, and forecasters have warned that there is a lot of uncertainty about the storm’s ultimate location.
On Friday, the hurricane center officially called Tropical Depression Nine and warned that it has the potential to become a hurricane by Monday morning. By that time, the system is expected to be located south of Cuba. As it approaches the south coast of Cuba on Monday night, it has the potential to be a Category 2 hurricane.
After making a northeasterly turn, the system, which is expected to be named Ian, is expected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday, somewhere between Tampa and Naples, on the Gulf of Mexico side of the state.
Furthermore, the most recent projections indicate that at that point, it might be a major hurricane with gusts of up to 115 mph. Generally speaking, a Category 3 or higher hurricane is considered a big hurricane.
However, “there is still a healthy amount of uncertainty in the track forecast at the day 4-5 timeframe,” as the Hurricane Center put it.
As the storm develops and gains intensity, it is conceivable that its path may change again.
According to experts, “there is increased spread in the guidance for this portion of the track forecast,” with day 5 positions ranging from the eastern Gulf to east of the Florida peninsula.
The potential for substantial impacts from storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains will be brought to Florida, according to the hurricane center.
Residents of Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the Florida peninsula should make sure they have a hurricane plan in place and closely follow prediction updates over the weekend, as it is still too early to identify the exact extent and position of these impacts.
The hurricane will make landfall in the Caribbean first, and the Cayman Islands are under a hurricane watch. Jamaica is also under a tropical storm watch.
The Cayman Islands may see hurricane conditions by early Monday, and tropical storm conditions by late Sunday, according to forecasters.
Approximately 410 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, Tropical Depression Nine was positioned at 7 p.m. CDT on Friday and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.
The maximum sustained winds during the depression were 35 mph. There is a chance of gradual strengthening today, and the hurricane center predicts it might become a tropical storm by tonight or Saturday.
Then, on the weekend, when the ocean will be extremely warm and the circumstances for intensification are forecasted to increase, the storm might gain strength. There is a chance it will strengthen into a hurricane by Monday morning.
Even if the storm’s center misses South Florida entirely, its winds could still cause widespread destruction. Dr. Rick Knabb, a former head of the Hurricane Center, has said the following:
Having sustained winds of at least 39 mph classifies a storm as a tropical system and qualifies it for a name. At 4 p.m. CDT, a tropical storm called Hermine formed off the coast of west Africa; the next storm on the list for 2022 is expected to be named Ian.
There was still too much uncertainty about the storm’s potential impact on the Alabama coast, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile.