Over the course of the last day, Tropical Depression 9 formed in the Atlantic Ocean north of South America and Tropical Depression 10 formed off the west coast of Africa. TD10 subsequently became Tropical Storm Hermine over the course of the day. It poses no threat to us in the Southeast. TD9 struggled a bit more to pull its circulation together, but it became TS Ian as of 11 pm and is expected to develop quickly over the very warm waters of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the next 2-3 days.
As of 11 pm, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting Ian to move northward and to make landfall somewhere on the west coast of Florida on Wednesday, although rain and wind will be felt well in advance of the storm and will also occur outside the forecast cone, which only identifies where the center of the storm will be. Ian is likely to intensify rapidly into a major hurricane over the very warm ocean water. After that, the path becomes less certain, but it is likely that some impacts will be felt in southern Georgia and potentially up the East Coast into the Carolinas. We can’t rule out Alabama either because the model spread is quite large and the cone has shifted westward slightly over the day. Everyone in the southern half of the Southeast, but especially the Florida Peninsula and coastal areas of AL and SC along with southern Georgia should be watching this storm carefully. If you want to know what to do to prepare, there is some excellent information at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan.
If you live in Florida or in southern AL, SC, or GA, you should start making preparations to deal with impacts from the storm as it moves north. Don’t wait until the last minute to get gas, water, and other necessary items, but do it calmly without panic. You still have some time to get ready. Areas along the East Coast will see onshore winds that may cause higher than normal tides, high waves and rip currents ahead of Ian’s passage. Power outages may occur with the strong winds that will be occurring near the center of Ian but also in outer bands and could last for several days in the hardest-hit areas, so be prepared with batteries and food that you can eat without needing to cook unless you have camp stoves available. If you are in NC or Virginia, you have a few more days to see how the storm develops and moves, but you should also keep possible impacts in mind. If you have crops that are near harvest, you will need to consider the effect of strong winds and rain on those crops when you plan how to respond.
I will post an update each night on the blog to provide the latest information, but use the National Hurricane Center forecasts along with your local National Weather Service forecasts to determine what conditions you are likely to experience at your home or business. Do not use general weather apps because they are not designed to provide good information in rapidly changing conditions!