Hurricane Ian Tracker: Updates Point the Way to Florida, North Carolina | Storm upgraded to category 3 | NOAA

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — Hurricane Ian’s latest projected track shows it moving further inland before hitting North Carolina on Saturday.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Ian remained a Category 3 storm, but still needed to strengthen to a Category 4 before making landfall on Florida’s west coast.

On Wednesday, the storm is expected to turn slightly to the northeast and slow down.

WATCH: The strength of Hurricane Ian captured by the International Space Station

Tuesday afternoon’s latest track takes Hurricane Ian farther east, making landfall closer to Fort Myers than Tampa. The storm then crosses into Florida and possibly retreats from the state’s east coast Friday morning.

But then it swerves back toward land, making another landfall along the Georgia coastline on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, the storm – after weakening to a post-tropical event – continues across South Carolina and North Carolina west of Charlotte.

What’s Ian going to do in North Carolina?

The details of Ian’s forecast for North Carolina are becoming clearer, but could still fluctuate depending on the storm’s final path.

However, the timing of the storm’s arrival in North Carolina has remained fairly stable.

Tropical storm-force winds could arrive in the southern part of the state Thursday evening through Friday morning. With the majority of rain and thunderstorms occurring Friday and Saturday.

Winds in excess of 30 mph are expected to persist through Saturday morning,

Changes in Ian’s trajectory could alter the forecast for your neighborhood; what happens where you live largely depends on where Ian ends up traveling to.

But overall, the storm is expected to dump between 2 and 4 inches of rain across central North Carolina.

Preparations underway in North Carolina

Raleigh and Durham officials are already predicting any impact Hurricane Ian will feel. Raleigh officials are ensuring flood-prone areas are reviewed for possible heavy rains. Meanwhile, in Durham, city leaders meet with Duke Energy to talk about their hurricane preparations.

Big Weather Hurricane Emergency Kit

How Florida is preparing and a look back at what Ian has already damaged

Hurricane Ian devastated western Cuba on Tuesday as a major hurricane, with nothing stopping it from intensifying into a catastrophic Category 4 storm before hitting Florida, where authorities ordered a 2.5 million people to evacuate before it crashes ashore on Wednesday.

Ian made landfall at 4:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where authorities set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, dispatched emergency personnel and took steps to protect crops in the area. main tobacco producing region of Cuba.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said “significant wind and storm surge impacts” were occurring Tuesday morning in western Cuba. Ian’s upper sustained winds were 125 mph (205 km/h) and up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) of storm surge was forecast along the Cuban coast.

Ian was forecast to strengthen even further over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, reaching peak winds of 140 mph (225 km/h) as it approached the southwest coast of Florida. Tropical storm-force winds were expected over the southern peninsula on Tuesday evening, reaching hurricane-force strength by Wednesday morning.

“Right now, we’re focusing on west-central Florida as the primary impact area,” hurricane specialist Andy Latto told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

RELATED: Hurricane Ian could affect already strained supply chain

With tropical storm-force winds extending 185 miles from Ian’s center, damage was expected across a wide area of ​​Florida regardless of where Ian makes landfall. The hurricane center extended its storm surge warning to the Atlantic coast of the peninsula and extended its tropical storm warning from Boca Raton to Brunswick, Georgia – a distance of about 375 miles (603 kilometers).

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said about 2.5 million people were under evacuation orders. He urged people to be prepared for power outages and to get out of his way.

“When you have a five to 10 foot storm surge, that’s not something you want to be a part of,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “And Mother Nature is a very formidable adversary.”

The hurricane center expanded its hurricane warning to include Bonita Beach north across Tampa Bay to the Anclote River. Fort Myers is in the hurricane zone, and Tampa and St. Petersburg could be hit directly by a major hurricane for the first time since 1921.

“Barrier Islanders who decide not to go do so at their own peril,” Lee County County Executive Roger Desjarlais said early Tuesday. “The best thing they can do is leave.”

WATCH: Early warning for hurricane season

As Ian’s center moved through the Gulf, state media began showing scenes of destruction in the country’s famous tobacco belt. The Cubadebate website showed photos of the devastation at cigar producer Finca Robaina, where wooden and thatched roofs were smashed to the ground and floodwaters ripped through the town of San Juan y Martinez.

More than a million Cubans were without power as of Tuesday morning, including all of the western provinces of Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. No deaths have been reported.

Ian’s forward movement was expected to slow over the Gulf, allowing the hurricane to widen and strengthen before it brought winds and water violent on the west coast of Florida. Forecasters said the rise in ocean waters could reach 10 feet (3 meters) if it peaks at high tide. Rainfall could total 16 inches (41 centimeters) with up to 24 inches (61 centimeters) in isolated areas. Coastal communities could be flooded.

Up to 300,000 people could be evacuated from low-lying areas in Hillsborough County alone, county administrator Bonnie Wise said. Some of those evacuations began Monday afternoon in the most vulnerable areas, with schools and other places open as shelters.

“We must do everything we can to protect our residents. Time is running out,” Wise said.

Lee County — where Fort Myers is on Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast — also issued mandatory evacuations early Tuesday for low-lying areas, including Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Bonita Beach, home to about 250,000 people. , after forecasters widened the hurricane warning zone.

“With the kind of tidal surge we’re talking about, it wouldn’t be uncommon for both islands to be submerged, and that’s a dangerous place,” Desjarlais said. “We cannot by law force people to leave the islands, but we strongly recommend that they go.”

Floridians lined up for hours in Tampa to pick up sandbags and clean shelves at bottled water stores. DeSantis declared a statewide emergency and mobilized 5,000 Florida National Guard troops, with another 2,000 on standby in neighboring states.

In Key West, the airport closed on Tuesday as squalls of rain from the storm added to a royal tide to flood the streets, prompting animal rescuers to delay their exit until Ian passed. In Orlando, Disney World closed four hotels as a precaution while pushing back on any decision to close its theme parks. In the northeast corner of Florida, the US Navy said it plans to move ships and planes from its base outside Jacksonville.

Playing it safe, NASA was rolling its moon rocket from the launch pad to its hangar at Kennedy Space Center, adding weeks of delay to the test flight. Tampa and St. Petersburg airports announced their closures Tuesday afternoon.

President Joe Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property. FEMA has strategically positioned generators, millions of meals and millions of gallons of water, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Damaging winds and flooding are expected across the peninsula as Ian moves north, reaching Georgia, South Carolina and other parts of the southeastern United States between Friday and Sunday, it said. the hurricane center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.