TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Today ended on a stormy note unrelated to Hurricane Ian. The storm’s fade after sunset and we will be quiet overnight.
Tomorrow, the wind will start to increase as Hurricane Ian pushes north into the Gulf of Mexico. The winds on Tuesday will all be off shore, which means tides will be lower than normal.
The northern rain bands start in the afternoon, and the rain gets heavier by the evening.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. A Tropical Storm Watch was issued at 11am for Polk, Highlands, Hardee, and Desoto. A Storm Surge watch is in place for those same coasts. A watch means that hurricane-force winds and 5-8 foot storm surge are expected within 48 hours.
Wednesday we could be tracking a major hurricane just a few miles off our coast. We still do not have good model agreement on how close the system will get to us or if it will actually make landfall.
The impacts from even a close pass of a major hurricane can still be quite devastating. Onshore wind and surge flooding will be possible late Wednesday and through Thursday. Multiple inches of rain are possible, and some places may get closer to a foot of rain by the time the entire event is over.
Thursday, the storm will push north and weaken even if it stays in the Gulf of Mexico. Wind shear will disrupt the system, so it should lose some of its organization and strength. The onshore wind flow will continue for the Tampa Bay area, so we will continue to watch for surge and tidal flooding.
By Friday, the system should be somewhere to our north, and our weather improves for the weekend.
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