Hurricane Ian Barrels Toward Florida, May Reach Category 5 Strength


Hurricane Ian is just two mph shy of Category 5 strength as the storm speeds toward Florida. See the latest updates and news on the monster storm, plus today’s weather alerts and the 3-day forecast.

NWS weather alerts

Here are the latest weather alerts from the National Weather Service (NWS) for Wednesday.

Red flag alert: eastern and southeastern Louisiana, eastern Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, southwestern Tennessee, western Florida Panhandle, south-central and southeastern Wyoming, northeastern California, northwestern Nevada.

Wind advisory: northwestern Nevada.

Freeze warning: northern Michigan.

Frost advisory: central and southwestern Michigan.

Hurricane warning: Florida.

Tropical storm warning: Florida, southeastern Georgia, southeastern South Carolina.

Tropical storm watch: northern Florida, southeastern Georgia, southeastern South Carolina.

Storm surge warning: coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Gail warning: coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware.

Catastrophic storm approaches Florida, too late to evacuate in some locations

As of 11 AM EDT, Hurricane Ian had sustained winds of 155 mph, just two mph under of Category 5 status (157 mph). At that time, the storm was located 45 miles west of Naples, Fox reported.

Florida could see between 12-18 feet of storm surge from sustained winds exceeding 150 mph, with gusts up to 190 mph, delivering “catastrophic wind damage,” according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Local officials, the National Weather Service (NWS), and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are telling residents in some locations that “it’s no longer possible to safely evacuate,” as key escape routes are shutting down. Officials are telling residents to treat the storm as if it were an approaching tornado and “move to upper floors to escape rising water if necessary,” CNN reported.

“Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash, urban, and river flooding is expected” across central and southern Florida, according to the NHC.

Significant flooding is possible in southeastern Georgia and coastal South Carolina through the weekend, the NHC warned.

The 3-day forecast: dangerous weather for Southeast, mixed precipitation in the West

The southeast will be dealing with Hurricane Ian, which should diminish to a tropical storm by Friday. Meanwhile, thunderstorms and possible mixed precipitation on Thursday and Friday in the West.

Here is the latest 3-day forecast from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Wednesday: Scattered storms, Hurricane Ian in southeast

Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall late Wednesday into early Thursday over Florida, bringing heavy rain, storm surge, damaging winds, and dangerous conditions (see alerts above).

Rain over parts of the Ohio Valley and much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, as well as portions of the Northwest.

Scattered thunderstorms over parts of the West from Washington to Arizona and East toward Oklahoma.

Thursday: Hurricane Ian over Southeast, thunderstorms and mixed precipitation in the West

Hurricane Ian will impact the southeast, bringing dangerous weather such as damaging winds, storm surge, and flooding rain over Florida. The danger zone extends into southern Georgia and southeastern South Carolina, while thunderstorms will stretch into northeastern North Carolina.

In the West, scattered thunderstorms, as well as mixed precipitation over parts of the Northwest and Colorado.

Rain along the northwest coast, as well as over parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Friday: Tropical Storm Ian to move into Eastern Atlantic

Ian is expected to diminish to a tropical storm as it moves into the Atlantic off the coast of northeastern Florida, bringing heavy rain with potential flash flooding to eastern Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Thunderstorms will stretch into the mid-South to the West and into Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the north.

In the West, thunderstorms over the Northwest and upper Midwest, with potential mixed precipitation over Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Thunderstorms over northern and southeastern Arizona.