The weather, currently.
In a post 24 hours ago, I emphasized that a sole focus on "Tampa. Tampa. Tampa." was not telling the whole story. We supposedly learned that lesson in 2004 as Category 4 Hurricane Charley was tracking right at Tampa. But, the Hurricane Warning extended southward past Ft. Myers. There was so much talk about Tampa that many of the people in the Ft. Myers area (especially those in the county just to the north, Charlotte County) thought they would be okay. They weren't.
Now, Ian may become a Category 4 that hits in the Hurricane Warning area. But Charley was unusually small, so a limited area got the worst of it. As of this writing the core of Ian is TWICE the size of Charley. Plus, Ian is moving much more slowly, so hurricane conditions will last for many more hours.
In order for a hurricane to strengthen to a Category 4 or 5, it needs nearly perfect conditions in the ocean and the atmosphere. This is true not only near the storm, but on the fringes as well. One of the things we've been looking at is called WIND SHEAR. Tropical storms and hurricanes strengthen when the shear is low-or nonexistent. Winds at the surface need to flow counter-clockwise around the LOW pressure in the eye and rise in the "eyewall" (the donut-shaped zone of the strongest winds and thunderstorms). Then, the wind at upper levels of the atmosphere need to flow clockwise and outward.
There is significant wind shear just northwest of Ian, over a lot of the Gulf of Mexico. We can see the impact on the satellite pictures on the northwest side, perhaps preventing an even more rapid intensification.
A giant problem this week is going to be the total rainfall (and not just along the track of Ian). This is due to the hurricane's extremely slow movement. As slowly as it's moving now, it's going to slow down even more, which will in turn, add to the rainfall even more.
So, rainfall flooding will extend through Northeast Florida into coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and even North Carolina. There will also be storm surge problems along Florida's northeast coast.
Then what? Computer models vary a bit, but the general trend is for Ian to potentially move offshore and then make another landfall in Georgia or South Carolina.
Ian is going to be a nightmare for days-perhaps even into NEXT WEEK.....?
— Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz email@example.com
What you need to know, currently.
What you can do, currently.
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