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10 PM TROPIC TOPICS UPDATE:
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB-TV) – Hurricane Ian is now about halfway through the Peninsula and setting its sights on the Atlantic before moving up to the Carolinas. The storm’s main impact from this point forward will be about the rain vs the Wind but it’s already done its damage. Wind gusts over 100 mph were reported in many locations around Fort Myers. The rainfall forecast for the area on the northwest side of the circulation was in the 20+ range and this looks to be verified in many locations.
Other than breezy conditions the Panhandle will continue to be concerned about fire danger until the winds settle down. The forecast remains to be dry. Otherwise no changes.
7 PM TROPIC TOPICS UPDATE:
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB-TV) – Hurricane Ian continues to move across the Peninsula. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft provided the last fix on Ian just before the hurricane made landfall at Cayo Costa, Florida, with the landfall time near 305 pm EDT. The minimum pressure had risen to about 940 mb at landfall, suggesting that the winds had come down slightly, and the landfall intensity was estimated near 130 kt. For the Panhandle, the main issue is Fire danger across the area. Low-level winds will strengthen over the next few days as Hurricane Ian crosses the Florida peninsula. Northeast winds will be breezy, which will also bring down drier air from the north. Critical fire weather conditions this afternoon will be situated in southeast Alabama and portions of the Florida panhandle. Also in southwest Georgia, elevated fire weather conditions will exist this afternoon as RH values will be around 25-30 percent. Slightly higher RH values are expected for Thursday and Friday, although winds will remain elevated.
3 PM TROPIC TOPICS UPDATE:
10 AM UPDATE:
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB-TV) – As of 10 a.m. CDT, Hurricane Ian remains a high-end Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph. A Category 5 hurricane has a minimum sustained wind of 157 mph. Ian is tracking north/northeast at about 10 mph. It is currently located 45 miles west/northwest of Naples, FL and 50 miles south/southwest of Punta Gorda, FL.
Landfall is expected near the Venice/Port Charlotte areas of the west coast of Florida later today around lunchtime if it maintains its forward motion speed. This storm will be devastating to the Peninsula of Florida and result in catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding beginning today.
The storm is likely to maintain its Cat. 4 strength upon landfall but weak as it moves inland. Regardless of the Category, substantial impacts are still forecast for the Peninsula of Florida.
The Panhandle, however, will be spared. With the shift farther east again, the only change to our local forecast will be even less rain. At this time, rainfall does not look probable. A stray shower will be possible Thursday and Friday, but that’s about it.
The wind threat remains the same with inland locations seeing 15-25 mph sustained winds Wednesday through Friday. Along the coastline, winds will range from 20-30 mph. Anywhere across northwest Florida may see gusts up to 40 mph during the same time frame.
The winds will be even stronger over open water like the Gulf of Mexico where a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect. Winds could reach 40 knots with gusts up to 60 knots. The seas are forecast to range from 6-9 feet Wednesday through Friday, calming by Sunday. Wave height at the beaches will be above 3 feet as well with a strong pull and small period. Double red flags will likely be flying at all area beaches through the first half of the weekend for safety purposes. This means the water will be closed for swimming. Disobeying a double red flag for swimming could lead to a hefty fee from officials or an arrest.
Strong winds and very dry air will also create a threat of high fire danger. Any spark or flame will spread quickly and could lead to a wildfire. Please do not burn anything outside until further notice (likely through the weekend).
Check back to this page throughout the day for additional information and/or forecast changes as new advisories are released by the National Hurricane Center.