Hurricane Ian a 'near worst-case scenario" for the Tampa area, says NHC director

'This would be the storm of a lifetime for many Tampa Bay residents,' said Rhome.

click to enlarge Hurricane Ian - Photo via NOAA
Photo via NOAA
Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian,  now a Category 3 storm, is expected to hit the Tampa Bay area Wednesday, and the director of the National Hurricane Center is calling it a "near worst-case scenario."

While speaking to CNN last night, NHC director Jamie Rhome pointed to the current track of Ian as the main point of concern.  As of now, the storm is expected to slow down and put all of Tampa Bay on its right side before making landfall, adding worries of increased storm surge to the region.

“This would be the storm of a lifetime for many Tampa Bay residents,” said Rhome, saying that if the storm intensifies,  the surge could be devastating to the area. "This is a near worst case approach angle coming in from the south and west and stalling,” added Rhome. “With it slowing down, this would be a near worst case approach angle.”
click to enlarge Hurricane Ian a 'near worst-case scenario" for the Tampa area, says NHC director
Photo via NOAA

According to Tuesday's 8 a.m. update from the NHC, Ian is currently just off the coast of Cuba, moving at about 12 mph, with 125 mph sustained winds. The storm is expected to pass west of the Florida Keys later today, and strengthen to a possible Category 4 as it approaches the west coast of Florida on Wednesday into Thursday.

Regardless of its track, Ian is expected to make landfall in Florida as a major hurricane, meaning above Category 3. 
The NHC has placed Tampa Bay under a hurricane and storm surge warning. Forecasters are now warning of life-threatening storm surge in the Tampa Bay area with models showing between 5 to 10 feet, and excessive rain of up to 15 inches in some areas.

As of this morning, Hillsborough County has ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents in Zone A and is recommending a voluntary evacuation for Zone B.  Across the Bay,  Pinellas has issued a mandatory evacuation for zones A, B, and C.

Both counties have multiple sandbag pickup sites, and shelters available. 


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Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf has been working with weekly newspapers since 2007 and has been the Digital Editor for Creative Loafing Tampa since 2019. He is also the Director of Digital Content Strategy for CL's parent company, Chava Communications.
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