PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — With an eastward shift of the projected path of Hurricane Ian, the west coast of Florida is at highest risk of significant impacts through the rest of the week. The latest NHC forecast track brings Hurricane Ian towards the Tampa/Bradenton/Sarasota area for landfall as a Category 3 storm. Rainfall totals could range from 20-40 inches (dependent on how much the hurricane stalls over the area). Hurricane force winds of 100+ mph are forecast along with 5-10 feet of storm surge. Tropical tornadoes will also be a threat to the Peninsula of Florida.
Because models are propagating further east and not shifting west, northwest Florida will not see major impacts from Hurricane Ian. Winds will start increasing in speed late Tuesday through Friday. Most of our central and western counties will see winds of 15-25 mph with 35-40 mph gusts possible. The Forgotten Coast and closer to the Big Bend will likely see some higher wind speeds. We’re forecasting 20-30 mph sustained and gusts up to 50 mph.
Rainfall totals are expected to be two inches or less from Dixie County west.
Winds will be out of the north/northeast, so we shouldn’t see much storm surge along the Forgotten Coast. Strong winds over the Gulf, however, will create dangerous beach and boating conditions starting late Tuesday. It’s best to stay off of and out of the water Wednesday until about Saturday.