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Tropical Storm Ian May Hit Florida as a ‘Major Hurricane’ On Wednesday

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Tropical Storm Ian may be the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Michael made landfall in 2018 as a Category 5 storm, killing at least 45 people and causing $25 billion in damage.

Tropical Storm Ian is on track to hit Florida on Tuesday or Wednesday. By then, it could be a “Major Hurricane,” according to the National Hurricane Center. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expanded the state of emergency order he issued yesterday from 24 counties to the entire state.
As of 2 pm on Saturday, Tropical Storm Ian was 270 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica with top wind speeds of 45MPH and is moving west at 16MPH. It should hit the Cayman Islands as a tropical storm on Sunday, though it may be a hurricane by that time. A hurricane watch alert has been issued in the Cayman Islands.

By Monday night, Ian should make landfall in western Cuba with 105MPH wind. Storms typically slow over land, but Ian is not expected to stay over Cuba long and is forecasted to gain more speed as it passes through the Gulf of Mexico. Sometime between Tuesday Night and Wednesday morning, it is anticipated to make landfall over Florida as either a category 2 or category 3 hurricane with wind speeds of 110 to 115 MPH.

Image captures moment in which a bridge was swept away by rising water levels in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Fiona's Sunday landfall.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.09.2022

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Ian moved further west than originally expected between Friday night and Saturday morning. If that trend continues, its center may miss Florida and only hit the state with tropical storm power winds. That would be good news for Florida but bad for residents of other Gulf states. Still, the most likely scenario, according to computer models, is that Ian will make landfall just north of Tampa, FL.

There will be more clarity over Ian’s path after it passes over Cuba.

This hurricane season, which typically peaks in early September, was expected to be more active than usual but ended up being relatively calm. No major storms hit the contiguous United States, with Hurricane Fiona the only hurricane to hit any US territory when it ravaged Puerto Rico, which is still suffering from the storm’s effects. Fiona has since moved to Atlantic Canada, where it is wreaking havoc as a post tropical-cyclone.

Residents of Florida and other Gulf states are advised to keep an eye on the storm and have a hurricane plan ready.

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