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Tropical Storm Ian Could Hit Florida as a Major Hurricane This Week

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Tropical Storm Ian, which formed in the central Caribbean late Friday, was expected to intensify on Sunday and become a hurricane near western Cuba before threatening Florida with a major hurricane this week.

Forecasters said Ian, which was about 390 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba as of Sunday night, is expected to become a hurricane in the early hours of Monday morning and become a major hurricane on Tuesday. The storm, which carries winds of 65 miles per hour, was expected to intensify rapidly on Monday and Tuesday.

“Ian will be a big and powerful hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and its effects will extend to much of the Florida peninsula,” said Jamie Rome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center. briefing on sunday.

a hurricane alarm The Hurricane Center said regions in western Cuba could see “life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-like winds” starting Monday, which was announced on Sunday. On Sunday night, the center issued a tropical storm warning for parts of the Florida Keys and a tropical storm warning for Florida’s west coast from Inglewood to Chokoloskee.

The center also issued a storm surge warning for parts of the Florida Keys and parts of Florida’s west coast. Forecasters have warned that if a peak surge occurs at high tide, water could rise several feet above the ground in many areas, including up to seven feet from Inglewood to Bonita Beach.

Before the storm, several school districts in Florida announced closures. Hillsborough County Public Schools said County officials had planned to use many schools as storm shelters starting Monday, so they had “no choice but to close schools” Monday through Thursday.Pasco County Schools Said Schools and Offices will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two to four inches of rain could fall in the Florida Keys, with some areas expected to see up to six inches through Tuesday night. Hurricane Center saidadded that flash floods and urban flooding could occur across the Keys and the Florida peninsula. Flash floods and landslides could also occur in the highlands of Jamaica and Cuba.

“Don’t think that even if you don’t see it, you don’t have to be prepared somehow,” he said. warned residents to do so.

Ian’s satellite imagery may not look “very impressive” right now, but it will change as the storm unfolds and “will get a little unnerving as that satellite actually builds,” Rohm warned. .

“A lot of people rushed to the store when they saw it, so I’ll make a point of using the rest of the day to finish the preparations while I’m still calm,” he said.

“The storm surge vulnerability along Florida’s west coast is pretty extreme,” Rome said, adding that “it’s not going to be flooded by a land or direct hit from a hurricane.”

As of Sunday afternoon, the department had 360 trailers loaded with food and water ready to be distributed to residents, Kevin Guthrie, head of the Florida Department of Emergency Management, told a news conference. Said there was.

President Biden Approved State of Emergency Declaration for 24 Florida Counties It unlocks direct federal support.

Ian is expected to pass near or west of the Cayman Islands on Monday and near or over western Cuba late Monday and early Tuesday.

Ian is expected to be 1 to 3 inches in Jamaica, 3 to 6 inches in the Cayman Islands and 6 to 10 inches in western Cuba, possibly up to 16 inches.

Forecasters said the rain could cause flash floods and landslides, especially in the highlands of Jamaica and Cuba.

As of Sunday evening, hurricane warnings were in effect for Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventu, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, and a tropical storm warning has been issued for La Havana, Mayavec and Matanzas, Cuba.

Ian is the 9th named storm in the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season.Storms are named when wind speeds reach 39 miles per hour or more

The Atlantic hurricane season ran from June to November and got off to a relatively quiet start. Only three named storms occurred on him by September 1, and none in August. This is his first time since 1997. And Earl formed within a day of each other.

In early August, NOAA scientists released updated forecasts for the rest of the season, which still called for above-normal levels of activity. In it, they found between 14 and 20 named storms in the season running through November 30, of which 6 to 10 could turn into hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. I predicted.

Three to five of them can intensify into what NOAA calls major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) with winds of at least 111 mph.

There were 21 named storms last year, following a record 30 in 2020. Over the past two years, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during the Atlantic hurricane season. ,Year 2005.

The link between hurricanes and climate change has become clearer with each passing year. Data show that hurricanes have gotten stronger around the world over the last 40 years. On a warming planet, we would expect hurricanes to become stronger over time, leading to a higher incidence of the most powerful storms, as factors such as strong wind shear can impede the formation of weaker storms. , the overall number of storms may decrease.

Hurricanes are also getting wetter due to increased water vapor in the warmer atmosphere. Scientists suggest that storms like 2017’s Hurricane Harvey brought in far more rain than without human influence on the climate. Rising sea levels also contribute to an increase in storm surges, the most destructive component of tropical cyclones.

Christine Chong, Mike Ives When Vimal Patel Contributed to this report.

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