Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida, with winds of 150 mph Wednesday afternoon. As of 6 pm, Ian was moving north-northeast at 8 mph and winds had slowed slightly to 130 mph. It was located 15 miles east of Punta Gorda, Florida, and 110 miles south-southwest of Orlando.

Ian continues to batter the Florida peninsula with “catastrophic” storm surge, winds and flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to continue moving through the state, causing damage along the way. Storm surges were seen as high as 18 feet.

Florda Governor Ron DeSantis said during a 5:30 p.m. Wednesday update on Hurricane Ian that while they have received reports of structural damage, the major issue has been the storm surge and flooding. 

As of 6 pm 1.5 million people were out of power and many communities are under a shelter in place mandate because emergency crews are limited in what they can get to. Rescue efforts will be underway as the brunt of the storm clears the west coast.

National Weather Service Discussion 25

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft provided the last fix on Ian just before the hurricane made landfall at Cayo Costa, Florida, with the landfall time near at 305 pm EDT. The minimum pressure had risen to about 940 mb at landfall, suggesting that the winds had come down slightly, and the landfall intensity was estimated near 130 kt. While there hasn’t been much in situ data recently, satellite images show that the eye has become more cloud filled, and Tampa Doppler radar data is indicating a gradual reduction in winds. The initial intensity is set to 120 kt on this advisory.

Further weakening is forecast while Ian moves over central Florida during the next day and emerges into the western Atlantic later on Thursday. While there is a lot of vertical wind shear in the environment there, a favorable trough interaction from a trough in the southern United States is expected to counteract the shear, resulting in Ian staying a strong tropical storm through landfall on the southeast U.S. coast. Little change was made to the intensity forecast, which is near or somewhat above the consensus guidance.

The hurricane is moving to the north-northeast at about 8 kt. The aforementioned trough is likely to cause Ian to turn northward over the western Atlantic and to the north-northwest by the weekend. Model guidance is just a bit faster to the north-northeast than the last cycle, and the new forecast is nudged in that direction. The trough will probably cause Ian to transition to an extratropical cyclone in a few days over the southeastern United States, and this new forecast reflects this likelihood.

National Hurricance Center

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