Currently in the Atlantic - Sept.30, 2022

by Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz

Ian becomes a hurricane - again

As we mentioned over the past couple of days, conditions would become favorable enough for Ian to re-strengthen as it moved off the Florida coast and into the warm Atlantic waters. It barely weakened below hurricane strength over land, since it was so strong to begin with, had some of its circulation over water the whole time, and much of the "land" was covered with warm water from all the rainfall.

Rapid intensification is highly unlikely, though, since the wind shear is much too high in this area.

A LOT of wind shear over Ian now

But Ian will also be moving over very warm water. The "finger" of brighter color off the Southeast coast (near 85°) represents the Gulf Stream, which could be enough to allow for at least some intensification.

So, hurricane warnings are up again, this time across the entire coast of South Carolina and even a part of North Carolina. Damaging storm surges are likely, since the water has already been increasing for days ahead of the storm.

Storm surge problems from Florida to North Carolina

That 4–7-foot surge in part of South Carolina is "life-threatening", as the local National Weather Service Office puts it:

"Structural damage to buildings, with several washing away".

"Major damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers"

"Major rainfall flooding could prompt many rescues".

"Flood waters could enter many structures within multiple communities; some structures become uninhabitable or are washed away"

That's pretty serious for a Category 1 hurricane. The combination of the LOW pressure in Ian with the large area of HIGH pressure over Canada makes the winds stronger, the surges higher, and the rain heavier.

Forecast map for Friday afternoon

Ian will weaken significantly after landfall, but the LOW pressure and moisture won't be going away. Computer models keep it all in the Carolinas for days...

The forecast track takes the remnants of Ian into the mountainous areas of the Carolinas-and even western Virginia, which could lead to additional flood threats. We are far from finished with Ian and its troubles.

In the meantime, the cleanup is just beginning in Florida. I've lived and worked in the state for many years, including my time in the Ft. Myers/Naples area. This is indeed one of the most beautiful areas in the country. Sanibel/Captiva, Ft. Myers Beach, Bonita Beach, Naples, and Marco Island were all spectacular beach areas I've enjoyed over the years. I first saw them in 1975, when there was hardly any development in these areas. Decades of rapid development combined with a monster hurricane have resulted in an unimaginable disaster. Look at this:

The only saving grace is that it is the "off-season" for tourists and "snowbirds", so there were fewer people in danger this week.

Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz