Ian producing 150 mph wind tastes as it moves north over Gulf of Mexico

  • A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Charlotte and Lee County.
  • As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, a hurricane warning has been issued for Collier County
  • A storm surge warning is in effect for all of Southwest Florida’s coast
  • The storm is now producing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with tastes of 150 mph

The NBC2 First Alert hurricane tracking team continues to track the movement of Hurricane Ian as Southwest Florida braces for direct impacts from the storm.

As of the latest advisory, the storm is producing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with gusts of 150 mph, making it a powerful Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind intensity scale. At last check, the storm was moving at 10 mph toward the north. The central pressure of the storm was pegged at 952 mb, lower than earlier today.

Because of the location and movement of this hurricane, Lee and Charlotte and coastal Collier Counties are under hurricane warnings. It is important to stress: DO NOT FOCUS ON THE CENTER OF THE FORECAST CONE. IMPACTS FROM THIS HURRICANE WILL EXTEND FAR BEYOND WHERE THE CENTER OF THE STORM IS.

As of 5 pm Tuesday, the forecast cone has shifted east of where it was earlier today, meaning the potential of a Category 4 hurricane landfall is higher in Southwest Florida than it was 24 hours ago.

The average width of a hurricane is 300 miles. Hurricane Ian is just about 350 miles wide. For reference, the width of the Florida peninsula is about 150 miles so regardless of if we take a direct landfall in southwest Florida, impacts will be widespread.

Hurricane Ian’s biggest threat to our area is a life-threatening storm surge. Even if the storm never makes landfall in our area, storm surge is the most dangerous part of the storm to our community.

A storm surge warning is active for our entire coast from Englewood to Marco Island. Storm surge warnings are issued when potentially deadly storm surge is possible in the alerted area within the next 36 hours. According to the National Hurricane Center, in a reasonable worst case scenario, 8 to 12 feet of surge inundation is possible from Englewood to Bonita Beach. From Bonita Beach to East Cape Sable, 4 to 8 feet of surge inundation is possible. Make sure you understand what these values ​​mean. They are not forecast values ​​but instead show you in a worst case setup how deep and significant the salt water flooding risk is. You can look at an interactive map depicting the surge potential in your community by following this link. Make sure you are aware of your evacuation zone if further evacuation orders are issued.

Away from the coast, a hurricane watch is active for Lee and Charlotte Counties, while tropical storm watches are up for Collier, Hendry, and Glades Counties. Residents in these communities should be prepared for tropical storm and hurricane-force winds by late Tuesday and Tuesday night as the storm gets closer to the peninsula. In terms of timing, we’ll be actively monitoring rainbands through Tuesday night. The graphic below depicts our futurecast forecast model at 3 pm on Wednesday.

As Ian approaches our area, the storm will bring an elevated tornado threat to the region. This is because we will find ourselves in the forward right quadrant of the storm. This is the area of ​​the tropical systems with the greatest potential of spin-up tornadoes embedded in any inbound rainbands. With the tornado threat, we must also be prepared for significant rain. Heavy rain totallying up between 4 and 10+ inches is possible.

We’ll have the latest on air on NBC2 News. In the meantime, for additional updated information about the storm, you can also check our NBC2 Hurricane Guide+ here.

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