PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A hurricane could be headed into the Gulf of Mexico over the next few days.

Tropical Depression 9 will be moving into a less sheared environment Friday night which should allow the system to strengthen to a tropical storm.

The next name on the list is Ian.

The low-level center is well defined at this point just waiting on convection to wrap around the center. The area of possible solutions has narrowed but this is still a good bit of uncertainty in the forecast. This should improve through the weekend and storm trackers will have a bigger jump in confidence once the storm starts to turn north.

Those in the cone at this point are in the set stage. That means anyone in the cone of uncertainty should start your full prep now. Make sure to have your prep done by Tuesday if possible.

From the Bend to the Panhandle you can still wait a day or so as there is a bit more time to watch. Make sure to prep for a category higher than what is forecast. In this case, a major hurricane is the forecast. This means being prepared for all options, including evacuation if necessary.

Please check the forecast frequently as the confidence increases and the forecast shifts. Major shifts are not expected but there is a narrow margin of error so a minor shift could have big implications.