Tropical Storm Ian continues to move across the western Caribbean while attempting to get better organized. The system is likely to strengthen overnight into Monday and may become a hurricane on Monday afternoon. The current forecast track takes Ian to the western portion of Cuba (early Tuesday) where there’s a concern for strong and gusty winds along with significant storm surge. Heavy rains will likely batter the region, too, as Ian gets picks up momentum. What’s next? Ian will likely stay west of the Lower Florida Keys (but it will be “near enough” to cause gusty squalls and possible flooding as early as Monday night). Isolated tornadoes will also be a threat, both Tuesday and Wednesday, for all of mainland south Florida.
Ian is forecast to lift north across the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a major (category 3 hurricane). Winds could be up to 120 mph over the open waters of the southeastern Gulf. While direct impacts are NOT anticipated over the south Florida mainland, there will still be the risk (if not likelihood) of damaging winds and heavy downpours. The exact path and size of this future-hurricane will dictate how widespread those effects will be. For those of you in south Florida, please don’t look past the potential threats, even with the system seemingly distant from your location. It’s common to have impacts far from the Cone, especially when it’s a strong and large system. We’ll continue to follow closely and keep you informed with growing developments.