Saturday, June 15, 2024

NHC forecasts Tropical Storm Ian will hit Florida as Category 3 hurricane

Tropical Depression Nine strengthened into Tropical Storm Ian Friday night.

This system is forecast to hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane next week.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, Tropical Storm Ian had strengthened while moving west over the Central Caribbean and was expected to further strengthen throughout the day over the warm waters.

Ian had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was located 300 miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and 570 miles east-southeast of Grand Cayman. The system was moving west-southwest at 15 mph.

“Rapid intensification is forecast Monday through Wednesday over some very warm water,” WESH 2 Meteorologist Tony Mainolfi said. “GFS model continues to be slower and west of Euro with the forecast cone between these two models tonight. Intensity forecasts remain very impressive in the Category 2 – Category 4 range.”

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The NHC advises hurricane conditions are possible in the Cayman Islands by early Monday. The Florida Keys and South Florida can expect heavy rains to begin as early as Monday. Some flash and urban flooding is possible with this rainfall, according to the NHC.

“A westward to west-northwestward motion is expected through early Sunday, ” the National Hurricane Center said. “A turn toward the northwest is forecast late Sunday, followed by a north-northwestward turn by late Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is forecast to move across the central Caribbean Sea today, pass southwest of Jamaica on Sunday, and pass near or over the Cayman Islands Sunday night and early Monday. Ian will then approach western Cuba on Monday.”


A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* Cayman Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* Jamaica

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

The National Weather Service has urged Florida residents and visitors to gather supplies and keep tracking the forecast.

Prepping for the storm


  • Stay tuned to WESH 2 News, WESH.COM, or NOAA Weather Radio for storm updates.
  • Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Understand hurricane forecast models and cones.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first-aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.

The WESH 2 First Warning Weather Team recommends you have these items ready before the storm strikes.

  • Bottled water: One gallon of water per person per day
  • Canned food and soup, such as beans and chili
  • Can opener for the cans without the easy-open lids
  • Assemble a first-aid kit
  • Two weeks’ worth of prescription medications
  • Baby/children’s needs, such as formula and diapers
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Battery-operated weather radio


  • Listen to the advice of local officials. If you are advised to evacuate, leave.
  • Complete preparation activities
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.


A smartphone can be your best friend in a hurricane — with the right websites and apps, you can turn it into a powerful tool for guiding you through a storm’s approach, arrival and aftermath.

Enable emergency alerts — if you have an iPhone, select settings, then go into notifications. From there, look for government alerts and enable emergency alerts.

If you have an Android phone, from the home page of the app, scroll to the right along the bottom and click on “settings.” On the settings menu, click on “severe weather alerts.” From the menu, select from most severe, moderate-severe, or all alerts.


Your pet should be a part of your family plan. If you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe space for them, could result in injury or death.

  • Contact hotels and motels outside of your immediate area to see if they take pets.
  • Ask friends, relatives and others outside of the affected area whether they could shelter your animal.

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