Tropical Storm Ian is strengthening in the Caribbean Sea and may become a serious hurricane threat for the northwestern Caribbean and Southeast U.S. next week, including Florida. Ian became the ninth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season late Friday night south of Hispaniola.
As the state prepares for Ian, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 24 counties. This will make more resources available for storm preparation and will also activate members of the Florida National Guard to be put on standby ahead of Ian’s arrival. Tropical storm and hurricane watches have been issued for parts of the Caribbean.
We are still in the very early stage of tracking this latest storm. There are aspects of the forecast in which we have more confidence, while others remain uncertain, which is typical for tropical forecasting this far out in time. Here’s a look at everything we know right now about Ian.
Tropical Storm Ian is located in the central Caribbean Sea and is moving westward. Wind shear over the system is now lessening. This allowed the system to become Tropical Depression Nine early Friday morning then Tropical Storm Ian late Friday night.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the Cayman Islands, meaning hurricane conditions are possible there by early Monday. Winds in the Caymans may already reach tropical storm strength as soon as late Sunday, making preparations difficult. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Jamaica, meaning tropical storm conditions are possible there on Sunday.
Heavy rain is possible in the Caribbean from Ian through Monday or Tuesday. This could lead to dangerous flash flooding and mudslides in hilly and mountainous areas, particularly in Jamaica and Cuba.
Up to 6 inches of rain may fall in southern Hispaniola, up to 12 inches may fall in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and up to 14 inches could occur in western and central Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Storm surge flooding of up to 3 feet above normal tides may occur in the Cayman Islands Sunday night into Monday. Localized coastal flooding is also possible along the coast of Jamaica in areas of onshore winds. (TWC)