TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An extreme wind warning has been issued for parts of Sarasota County as the eyewall of Hurricane Ian moves onshore.
The National Weather Service issued the warning for southwestern Charlotte County and south central Sarasota County until 2 p.m. ET.
“At 12:02 p.m. EDT, National Weather Service doppler radar indicated extreme winds, associated with the eyewall of Hurricane Ian, were moving onshore 15 miles northwest of Pineland, or 20 miles southwest of Punta Gorda, moving northeast at 5 mph,” the alert said. “This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation.”
According to the National Weather Service, an extreme wind warning is issued when sustained surface winds related to a tropical cyclone reaching 115 mph or higher are imminent or actively present. The warnings can be issued by NWS offices.
“The warning will arrive ahead of landfall,” WFLA Meteorologist Amanda Holly said. “These will be the strongest winds in the whole system, surrounding the center of the storm.”
The NWS says extreme wind warnings are issued for the smallest geographical area possible and will be issued in periods of two hours or less. A warning will not be issued twice for the same location. The warning will alarm wireless emergency alerts and NOAA Weather Radios to alert people in the area.
“This is when you need to go into your safe place immediately with pillows and blankets for protection and stay there until the eyewall has passed,” Holly said. “Bring phones to get alerts and watch our coverage on the app.”
The last time the NWS issued an extreme wind warning in the area was in September 2017 as Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida.