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10 PM Update
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The track of Ian continues to shift to the east. With every forecast shift east, the impacts across our area will be less.
Most of the panhandle at this point will see less than 1″ of rain. There will be a tight gradient between areas that could pick up several inches of rain and those areas that see just a few showers. This is all dependent on when the western shield and extent of the rain into our area so changes in amounts are subject to change.
The winds will for most be out of the north at 15 to 30 mph whereas gusts could be upwards of 40 mph. These winds are likely even with the storm shifting east just thanks to the pressure gradient across the area.
Tropical storm force conditions will be possible across the Franklin county coast where a tropical storm watch is in effect. At this point, the chances of even seeing just tropical storm conditions there are around 30% and the chances are less as you move to the north and west from there.
While the track is not a lock there is a high chance at this point that the storm will move off to the east of our area. Continue to check the forecast often as we dial in the impact on the area and potential changes.
Local to the Florida Panhandle, it is becoming less likely that this will be a significant event for our area. There is still potential that Hurricane Ian could shift west, but confidence is growing that this storm will have a greater effect on areas east of the Apalachicola River to the Big Bend. Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, and Franklin county are the few in our designated viewing area where we will watch closely for strong winds and potentially heavy rainfall. Right now, 20-40 mph winds and rainfall totals of 2-4 inches remain possible. These numbers may change with additional shifts west or east of the projected path.
The biggest impacts from this hurricane will come from the west coast of the Peninsula of Florida, specifically in and around Tampa. Storm surge will likely be 5-10 feet around Tampa Bay and other areas of the Sun Coast. Winds will be straight out of the south/southwest. Higher rainfall totals of 8+ inches are also possible, especially as the hurricane will stall just off-shore for 1-2 days. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for specific flood zones. For more information, visit our sister station’s website: www.wfla.com
Ian is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding, possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain, particularly over Jamaica and Cuba. Considerable flooding impacts are possible later this week in west central Florida. Additional flash and urban flooding, and flooding on rivers across the Florida Peninsula and parts of the Southeast cannot be ruled out for later this week.
Ian is expected to be a major hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the middle of this week. Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, there is a risk of a life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of this week. Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches have been issued for a portion of the west coast of Florida and additional watches may be required.
Check back to this page for updates throughout the day for more details on potential impacts to the Florida Panhandle. We will be sharing our forecast and additional changes every few hours.