The Urethane Blog

Hurricane Ian Update

Ian reaches major hurricane status at Category 3

Tampa Bay bracing for 10 feet of storm surge

Kaylee NixTuesday, September 27, 2022

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Waves crash against a seawall as Hurricane Ian passes through George Town, Grand Cayman, on Monday. (AP Photo/Kevin Morales)

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Update as of 8 a.m. Tuesday

Hurricane Ian strengthened to a Category 3 storm early Tuesday morning, making it the second major hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season. 

Ian hit the western half of Cuba overnight Monday with winds just over 100 mph and extremely heavy rainfall. As the storm moved over the island, it actually gained strength and now has wind speeds sustained at 125 mph. Ian is moving due north at a slow forward speed of 12 mph according to latest recconsinance from the National Hurricane Center. 

Ian is expected to slow down Tuesday afternoon once it moves completely over the Gulf of Mexico and rapidly intensify to a Category 4 or 5 by Tuesday evening; the sea surface temperatures in the Gulf remain extremely warm, which will support the rapid intensification. 

As forecast models come into better agreement with the track of the storm, landfall is expected right around Tampa, Florida, Wednesday night into Thursday morning. If Ian makes landfall in Tampa, it would be the first major hurricane to do so in over a century.

The National Hurricane Center issues a forecast cone for Hurricane Ian Tuesday morning.

A storm surge into Tampa Bay is particularly dangerous as the orientation of the bay does not allow for water to recede quickly. The position of Ian coming onshore also makes the surge situation worse as the northeast quadrant of a hurricane will push the largest amount of water inland. 

Residents in Tampa and surrounding areas have been ordered to evacuate due to the expected surge and urban flooding that will come from heavy rainfall as Ian moves onshore. Other parts of the western Florida coast are under voluntary evacuation orders.

The next forecast update on Ian will come in from the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday.