Nice, Fall Week; Hurricane Ian to Rapidly Intensify the Next 48 Hours
A weak front is pushing through Alabama today and will make it feel like early fall this week. Expect sunny skies Monday through Thursday with highs in the mid 80s on Monday, and upper 70s to low 80s Tuesday and Wednesday. A tightening of the pressure gradient from the approaching Ian will bring breezy conditions and slightly cooler temperatures to the area on Thursday, but skies will remain mostly sunny with highs in the 70s.
Friday’s weather is a little uncertain at this time until we can get a better idea on where Ian is actually going to go. For now, we can expect partly sunny skies with a good chance of showers especially for areas east of Interstate 65. We expect very breezy conditions, as Ian’s wind field will be spreading out. Please remember that this will most likely change according to Ian’s forecast track. Highs in the lows 70s. If Ian comes farther west, expect greater impacts, if it goes father east, expect little to no impacts.
WEEKEND WEATHER: Again, like Friday, the forecast confidence is low as we are not completely sure where Ian is going to end up. A track to the west will make it rainy and breezy, while a track to the east will keep us mainly dry with a little breeze. At this point, we’ll go with mostly sunny skies with a small chance of a few scattered showers Saturday. Both days will feature highs in the upper 70s to the low 80s.
HURRICANE IAN: At 500 AM EDT, the center of Hurricane Ian was located near latitude 18.2 North, longitude 82.0 West. Ian is moving toward the northwest near 14 mph. A turn toward the north-northwest is expected today followed by a northward motion on Tuesday with a slightly slower forward speed. A turn toward the north-northeast is forecast on Tuesday night or early Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to pass near or west of the Cayman Islands today, and near or over western Cuba tonight and early Tuesday. Ian will then emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and pass
west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday, and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph with higher gusts. Rapid strengthening is expected during the next day or so, and Ian is forecast to become a major hurricane tonight when it is near western Cuba. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles. The latest minimum central pressure estimated from Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft data is 983 mb (29.03 inches).
Ian is expected to be a major hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico over the next few days, but with any tropical cyclone, there remains uncertainty in the track and intensity forecasts. Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, we are watching this system carefully as it will have major impacts on the U.S. this week.