Update this morning on Ian….
1) The system is slowly becoming better organized this morning. 50mph winds just south of Jamaica 🇯🇲.
2) Ian should become vertically stacked this afternoon and begin rapidly intensifying.
3) Ian will flirt with the western tip of Cuba, which has the highest mountains in the Caribbean. This could briefly disrupt the storm before it enters The Gulf of Mexico. There is a chance the center of circulation misses Cuba and remains over water. If that occurs, the forecast intensity of Ian may be underdone.
4) A trough is currently developing over The Eastern United States. This will work to pull Ian North. As it comes North into the northern gulf, the system will encounter substantial southwesterly shear. This could work to weaken Ian before it makes landfall. The NHC estimates a Category 2 Hurricane at landfall. That forecast looks really good right now.
5) As high pressure builds down the eastern US and the subtropical ridge in The Atlantic strengthens Ian will slow forward progress before making landfall. Ian’s wind field will spread out as the storm becomes less organized.
6) Great uncertainty remains as to if Ian goes in at Tampa (would be a much stronger hurricane if it goes in at Tampa) or if it moves north to Florida’s big bend. I am leaning toward a landfall over the big bend or Florida’s panhandle. From the Ian will track North.
7) Impacts to Western NC would arrive Friday Evening and Saturday. As Ian moves North, a wedge of high pressure will ooze down the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge. This is good news on the severe weather side of things. That wedge should cap the atmosphere but watch out. That wedge boundary, wherever it sets up, could be a huge focal point for tornadic thunderstorms. Not sure where that sets up yet. Ritch tropical moisture will flow into the area, overrunning the wedge. This could mean even greater rainfall rates along the southern and eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge, but out away from the Blue Ridge as well.
8 ) There remains great uncertainty in the eventual track of Ian into The Carolina’s. It is almost certain that NC will be impacted. We just don’t know the magnitude currently. So this forecast will change. Coastal North Carolina could still be impacted by beneficial, heavy rain with a local flash flood risk as well. The severe weather risk could be higher along the coast line. I do not see a scenario that would put Ian into The Atlantic and therefor I don’t see a east coast landfall right now. Again, this is fluent so stay tuned.