Ns News Online Desk: While Ian has been slow to organize, the FOX Forecast Center expects the storm to gain strength in the Caribbean Sea, and much of Florida is included in the forecast cone for what will likely become a major hurricane in the coming days.
The National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the lower Florida Keys as Tropical Storm Ian moves closer to the US It is forecast to become a hurricane Monday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Floridians to take precautions and declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties ahead of the impacts of Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to undergo a period of rapid intensification on Monday and Tuesday.
Rapid intensification occurs when a tropical cyclone’s (tropical depression, tropical storm or hurricane) maximum sustained winds increase by at least 35 mph in a 24-hour period, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“Make preparations now,” DeSantis said at a news conference on Sunday. “I know a lot of people have been doing it throughout the state of Florida.”“I’m really concerned that people won’t take the threat seriously, especially for places like Tampa Naples and Fort Myers. They are looking at the cone or the track and it looks like its offshore or west of the and they are probably downplaying the impact,” Acting Director the NHC, Jamie Rhone told FOX Weather. “But what I want to stress to those people is that it really doesn’t take a ton of wind in this part of the country to push water onto the coast. And we could be looking at a decent storm surge event even if the track is offshore
The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows Ian becoming a hurricane Monday, then reaching major-hurricane strength (Category 3 or stronger) Tuesday.
The combination of deep, warm waters and relaxed wind shear – winds that change direction and speed at various heights – over the Caribbean Sea is expected to allow Ian to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane
“There’s a lot of fuel in the Gulf of Mexico. The average temperature is about 87 degrees, and the maximum water temperature is about 89 degrees,” Frazer said. “That is just fuel for these hurricanes. Hurricanes love temperatures that are in excess of 80 degrees and low wind shear. And there is no wind shear happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Loop Current, a current of very warm water flowing northward from the western Caribbean Sea into the southern Gulf of Mexico, could also provide a boost to Ian’s intensification rate, as it has long been known to be a significant source of fuel for strong Gulf of Mexico hurricanes.