Special update by Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz
This is horrific. Historic. Catastrophic. A day — and night-and days to come — that will never be forgotten in Southwest Florida. Ian intensified overnight from major to monster. It will be worse than Charley in 2004 (much larger). And worse than Donna in 1960 (more direct angle of strike).
Stu Ostro showed a great comparison between the size of the core of Ian vs. Charley:
I lived in this area for a couple of years in the 90s, starting with Hurricane Andrew (which devastated part of the Southeast Coast-hardly any damage in the Ft. Myers or Port Charlotte areas). It's one of the most beautiful areas of our country, with mainly retirees from the cold northern U.S. or Canada. Anyone who moved here after Charley in 2004 — hundreds of thousands — has never seen anything even close to what is about to happen.
We can only pray for a minimal loss of life. Those in the storm surge zones in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier, will regret not heeding the warnings.
And here is the closeup version of the worst hit area:
I almost can't believe the graphic below. It shows that Naples, Florida is getting moderate flooding at LOW TIDE. And it was still going up.
Yes, the Tampa area will be spared the worst. But the area of hurricane force winds in Ian is THREE TIMES as large as that of Charley. That means a much larger area of extreme damage. The slow movement means much much more rain. The highest storm surge in Charley was about 9 feet near Naples-Ian's highest storm surge could be twice that high over much more of the coastal area.
Ian's horrific history won't end with landfall. Far from it. Let's see where the computer models are showing it will go:
As Ian slowly treks across the Florida peninsula, keep this in mind: yes, hurricanes weaken as they track over land, but.....
So much rain has fallen and will continue to fall that there won't be much "land" to move over. The track area will be flooded with warm water. The land is flat. So, Ian won't weaken nearly as fast as other hurricanes would in other states.
Hurricane force winds will cross the state, causing damage in the Orlando and Daytona Beach areas (and the Cape Canaveral area). Already, an extreme wind warning is in effect for Cape Coral FL, Bonita Springs FL, Estero FL until 12:45 PM. It will cause another storm surge (3-6 ft) along the coasts of Northeast Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. And it could re-intensify before the second landfall.
More updates to come. But not optimistic ones, I fear.
Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz email@example.com