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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tropical Storm Ian is expected to strengthen into a hurricane Sunday as it continues to make a projected path toward Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. Chief Meteorologists Ross Whitley discusses the potential impacts, paths, timing, and much more in this episode of Tropic Topics.
Tropical storm Ian is now organized and ready to intensify. The storm should be set to rapidly intensify as it will have near-perfect conditions as far as the environment goes. The only thing that could inhibit the system a touch is some dry air.
Ian will move to the northwest through tonight and tomorrow then start to turn more to the north and eventually to the northeast. The northeast shift is still in the air as to when it makes that turn. This will be when the system starts to interact with the trough and push it to the east.
The sharper the turn to the east the more likely the system holds onto strength through landfall. The farther to the north, the system goes shear, and the upwelling of water should lessen the wind speeds of the storm but the impacts can still be significant.
The timeline shown is when the storm will start to bring impacts through the area and then when impacts are expected from Cape Coral to Perry FL, preparations will need to be done as soon as you can the farther south you go the closer to the storm you are so you have less time to prepare.
In the Panhandle, it’s still possible that the storm ends up farther to the west. This would bring impact into the area starting Thursday and mostly Thursday night and Friday would those impacts be felt. Every shift to the east will lessen the impact on the area.
The ready, set, go graphic shows that to the center and east of the center the area that is in the go category. This shows most of the western coast of the Florida peninsula as in the go category this has to do with the time to prepare as well that the impacts from the system will be felt well outside of the center of the storm. A sharper turn to the east is possible and should still be considered while making your plans.
In the Panhandle, we still need to be prepped and ready. Franklin and Gulf county need to keep a very close eye and should continue to prep as if the storm were heading in that direction. Those counties in the panhandle will likely have the highest impacts. We will be narrowing in on impacts as the forecast confidence grows. Please continue to check in frequently.
Rain will be widespread across the state esp the peninsula of Florida from the center to the east of the center the rain will be the greatest. There will be a tight gradient across the panhandle where the western edge of the system goes. We could have just a few miles from heavy rain to nothing. Every shift to the east with the storm will reduce the amount of the area that will see rain.