Hurricane Ian emerged from Cuba a somewhat weakened storm today, but it was not enough weakening to change much about the current forecast. In fact, the storm is strengthening again over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Current model forecasts show the intensity peaking at about category 4 status, so winds around the center of the storm will be at 130 mph and likely higher.

One important note today both in the observations and subsequent model forecasts- there has been a noticeable jog eastward by the storm. The National Hurricane Center has adjusted their track forecast accordingly. If this trend remains uncorrected back to the west, then an earlier landfall (late Wednesday) is possible south of the Tampa area. This could also mean the hurricane could be stronger at landfall.

The turn eastward now indicates that the storm is growing big enough/tall enough to be influenced by southwesterly (southwest to northeast) winds. The computer model forecasts (displayed as a spaghetti plot below showing the different model tracks) are picking up on this and now pushing the storm in some runs totally across Florida to the eastern shoreline and back into in the Atlantic Ocean. This potentially changes the areas that should be concerned about heavy, flooding rain. Either way feet of rain is likely along the path of the storm in addition to a large storm surge of water piling up from the Gulf of Mexico toward the wester coast of Florida (see below).

Total rain forecast from the Weather Prediction Center along Ian’s track as of Tuesday at 2 PM.
Storm surge forecast from the National Hurricane Center as of Tuesday at 2 PM.
Spaghetti model plot summarizing current (as of Tuesday at 5 PM) hurricane tracks

What does this mean for the Midstate? Taking all of this new information into account, there will be likely more showers than indicated in forecasts yesterday. Some rounds of showers are possible now for Saturday, followed by damp and cloudy weather continuing for Sunday and Monday. At this time we do not see heavy rain potential. Putting all of the rain potential together, Central PA should see 0.25-0.5″ with some guidance a little higher than that. We will continue to monitor all forecast changes to the south of central PA and our local forecast.