Hurricane Ian strengthened to a high Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday morning. To qualify as a Category 5 storm, the hurricane needs to have sustained winds of 157mph... as of 9:10am, Hurricane Ian had 155mph winds.
More dangerous than even the winds, the storm surge potential is massive, with warnings stretching all the way to the southeastern Georgia coast. The National Hurricane Center updated predictions of the life-threatening surge potential for these areas of Florida:
• Englewood to Bonita Beach...12-18 ft
• Charlotte Harbor...12-18
• From Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee... 8-12 ft
• From Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable...5-8 ft
The potential for further strengthening of Hurricane Ian is high, given the increasingly slow moving storm. Hurricane Ian is moving NNE at 9mph, allowing it to linger over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico with low conditions (such as wind shear and dry air) to weaken the storm.
The wall of the eye of the storm is filled with near-constant lightening that was visible on satellite images.
2.5 million people are currently under evacuation orders.
The full impact on northern Georgia is hard to predict at this moment, given the current projection path. It is looking likely that at the very least, we could experience some rain and wind.
We will continue to update this page with major developments.