, 2022-09-27 23:04:44,
After a night of intensification, Hurricane Ian emerged as a major hurricane Tuesday — now on a track further east and south of Tampa Bay.
Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as an extremely dangerous hurricane, forecasters said in an 11 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. The latest track shows a possible landfall on the southwestern coast of Florida, and some parts of Tampa Bay no longer are shown in the current cone.
The Category 3 storm is about 175 miles southwest of Naples as of 11 p.m. Ian has maximum sustained winds near 120 mph, with stronger gusts, and is moving north-northeast at about 10 mph.
During the 11 p.m. update, forecasters said the Category 3 storm is likely to continue traveling north-northeast, slowing down while growing stronger Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Ian’s predicted path has it passing west of the Florida Keys in the next few hours, then approaching the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area throughout Wednesday. The storm’s center is expected to move over central Florida Wednesday night and into Thursday morning before entering the western Atlantic late Thursday.
Hurricane-force winds extend from Ian’s center by up to 40 miles, and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 140 miles, the hurricane center said.
Ian is expected to develop into a Category 4 storm before it reaches Florida’s west coast, according to the 11 p.m. update. Forecasters believe the system, which has turned to the right a bit, will get stronger and vertically deeper.
“Since radar imagery indicates that an eyewall replacement is probably underway, this could result in a larger eye evolving overnight,” the 11 p.m. update said.
Forecasters have extended watches and warnings to the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula, including an extension of a hurricane warning that now covers the area from Chokoloskee to the Anclote River
Forecasters are warning of life-threatening storm surge along the west coast of Florida. The area from Naples to Sarasota is most at risk, the hurricane center said in its 11 p.m. update.
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