Rapid Intensification of Tropical Storm Ian Expected Next 48 Hours, Gulf Coast and Interior Southeast Impacts Likely Next Week

Good Saturday evening to everyone across the Western Carolinas. Hope you weekend is off to a great start.

We have an important blog piece about developing Tropical Storm Ian and the impacts for the Western Caribbean, Cuba and the US over the next 5-7 days. Please share this with friends or family who may be in harms way of Ian…

Tropical Storm Ian officially formed yesterday across the Central Caribbean and is moving west. There have been a couple center re-locations as Ian becomes better organized. Wind shear yesterday presented a distorted look to the storm but that shear has now departed and Ian is starting to develop organized bands of deep convection.

Here is the latest National Hurricane Center Forecast of 5 pm. Ian is expect to begin turning northwest and then north toward the Western tip of Cuba by early Tuesday and then into the Gulf of Mexico…NHC is forecasting a major hurricane by Monday as it nears Cuba.

The forecast track for the next 48-72 hours looks straightforward, computer guidance has locked that part of the forecast in very well. It’ after 72 hours that some variations start to occur.

Saturday 18z Tropical Model Suite

Saturday 18z Tropical Model Intensity Guidance

Synoptic Breakdown for Florida and Southeast US…

The forecast for Ian once we get past Tuesday becomes quite complex. The exacting timing of all features is going to play a significant role in the final destination for Ian later next week…

Once thing is for certain…Florida is going to see significant impacts from what could be a Major Hurricane in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Anywhere along the West Coast all the way up through the Florida Panhandle should prepare for big problems. If you watch the two video loops posted below you can see a breakdown of all the players on the table that will steer Ian.

The European Model, which has been an eastern track outlier has generally trended further west and north with Ian’s track while the GFS has been steadfast with a Panhandle landfall and impacts well into the Southeast US…

Due to a departing trough across the Eastern US and very dry (Continental Polar) air established, Ian will slow down late Wednesday and Thursday as it either comes just inland the west coast of Florida or just off shore heading toward the Panhandle. A few days ago the impression was that the Eastern US trough would help carry Ian out and up the East Coast…unfortunate that is not going to happen. Instead a north or northwest jog will work the storm into the Southeast.

The airmass across the Southeast is going to be very dry, tropical systems try their best to avoid running into areas where the atmosphere isn’t very moist. The atmosphere will moisten again late Thursday and on Friday. The European model in particular is trying to force a deep southeast fetch associated with the hurricane into the Carolinas by Friday, will the GFS isn’t quite as robust and the low track itself is about 150 miles further west.

While confidence is still low in terms of storm details…we are now wanting to raise early awareness of significant precipitation potential for Western North Carolina late next week. If you had to pin down timing, right now it would lean toward Friday…here’s a look at the WPC forecast for the next 7 Days.

WPC 7-Day Forecast


  1. Tropical Storm Ian to intensify over next 48 hours into a Major Hurricane
  2. Substantial impacts to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Western Cuba, Florida Coast Coast Probable
  3. Storm track still in some doubt
  4. Impacts from Ian could work north into the Interior Southeast including the Carolinas by late work week…

Our weather will continue to monitor the latest on Ian over the next few days, once forecast details for our area become more certain, we will break down the scenarios…

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