Hurricane Ian, a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, made landfall in western Cuba around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, lashing the southwestern part of the island with heavy rains, fierce winds and life-threatening storm surge.

After Cuba, attention will focus on where Ian will make landfall in Florida on Wednesday afternoon or evening. Ian is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane — but will likely weaken when it makes landfall along the Florida Gulf Coast. Forecasters are predicting landfall to the south of Tampa — a city highly vulnerable to storm surge.

While a variance of dozens of miles could dramatically change the fortunes of those in the landfall area, nearly all of Florida will see some impact from Ian, the outer bands of which are already bringing heavy downpours and isolated tornadoes to the state.

Hurricane warnings have been posted from Florida’s southern tip to Tarpon Springs, an area that includes the cities of Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota and Fort Myers. To the north, tropical storm warnings have been posted across the Florida Panhandle to Apalachicola, as well as on the Atlantic side of Florida and into coastal South Carolina, stopping just short of Cedar Island.

More about Hurricane Ian

Here is a look at the forecast for several cities.


While the core of the storm is expected to pass to the west and north, Miami has been put under a tropical storm warning for the possibility of sustained winds climbing to tropical storm force. Regardless of how windy it gets, the city is already seeing impacts from Ian; a flood watch and tornado watch are posted. One to 3 inches of rain have already fallen across much of southern Florida, and an additional 4 to 6 inches, with the potential for nearly double that, will be possible in and around the Miami area.


By Wednesday, winds could gust as high as 45 mph. The National Hurricane Center gives Miami about a 50 percent chance of seeing sustained tropical storm conditions. A modest storm surge of up to one foot is also possible.

Fort Myers

The city on Florida’s southern Gulf Coast is under a storm surge warning and a hurricane warning, with a flood watch also in effect until Thursday night. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to last until Thursday evening, with gusts up to 85 mph. Sustained hurricane-force winds, over 74 mph, are possible.

The worst of the storm surge may strike north of Fort Myers, but a potentially devastating surge of 6 to 9 feet above ground level is possible in the area. Freshwater flooding is also likely, with 4 to 8 inches of rainfall likely, with locally higher amounts possible.


Ian could possibly make landfall in Tampa; the city is under a storm surge warning, a hurricane warning and a flood watch. Recent computer model forecasts have the storm making landfall to the south, somewhat reducing the potential storm surge.

Still, those in Tampa should be ready for the worst, and the National Hurricane Center is forecasting up to 4 to 6 feet of surge.

Tropical storm conditions will begin Wednesday morning, with hurricane-force winds expected to begin Wednesday afternoon and not abating until Thursday afternoon. Tropical storm conditions could persist through Friday. Sustained winds could possibly climb as high as 115 mph. Some locations in and around Tampa could see winds gust up to 145 mph.


Between the wind and storm surge, the National Hurricane Center has warned that “locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

Extraordinary amounts of rainfall are also forecast, with the storm expected to slow to a crawl near or around Tampa. The National Hurricane Center is calling for 12 to 18 inches of rainfall, with locally higher amounts possible — more than enough to cause widespread urban and freshwater flooding. Tornadoes will also be possible as the storm tracks closer to the city.


While Tampa may be spared Ian’s crosshairs, several weather models have Sarasota as a potential landfall location, with the most recent forecast from the National Weather Center putting the landfall south of the city, near Venice, Fla. Regardless, Sarasota is expected to take a severe punch from the storm, with hurricane and storm surge warnings issued, as well as a flood watch.

Sarasota is forecast to start seeing tropical storm-force conditions this evening, with hurricane-force winds expected to begin by Wednesday morning. Sustained wind speeds are expected to climb to Category 2 strength, maxing out at 110 mph, with localized gusts to 140 mph possible. Uncertainty in the exact track and strength of the storm has the National Hurricane Center asking locals to be prepared for Category 3 hurricane winds or higher, though.

A “devastating to catastrophic” and potentially historic storm surge of 8 to 12 feet is possible in and around Sarasota, in addition to at least 6 to 10 inches of rainfall. All told, like in Tampa, the National Hurricane Center is warning that Ian could render parts of Sarasota uninhabitable for weeks or months.


Orlando is inland and thus not at risk of seeing any storm surge, though Ian’s path will take it inland and close to the Central Florida city, possibly at hurricane strength. A hurricane watch has been issued for the city, which may eventually replace a tropical storm warning that has also been issued. A flood watch has also been posted for Orlando, which is expected to start seeing tropical storm conditions by Wednesday morning.


The National Hurricane Center is warning that the wind threat to Orlando is increasing, with sustained winds of 74 to 110 mph possible, with residents asked to prepare for winds up to Category 2 force.

Widespread heavy rainfall is also expected, with 6 to 10 inches of rain forecast, with more possible and extensive flooding likely in and around Orlando. Tornadoes will also be possible, with tropical thunderstorms beginning this afternoon and continuing as the storm approaches the city.


Although Jacksonville is a considerable distance from where Ian will come ashore, it is still predicted to see substantial impacts. The city is under a tropical storm warning and a flood watch, with conditions expected to deteriorate late Wednesday night into early Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center is warning residents to be prepared for wind speeds up to that of a Category 2 hurricane, as there remains considerable uncertainty in Ian’s eventual track, size and strength as it passes near Jacksonville. At the moment, though, the peak winds forecast are just 25-35 mph, with gusts up to 60.

The big story in Jacksonville may end up being the rainfall, with 8 to 12 inches of rain forecast, with locally higher amounts likely.

Tropical storm conditions could persist in the city through Friday. The forecast for Ian becomes murky later in the week, as the storm could briefly exit off the Florida coastline into the Atlantic Ocean before crashing inland again in Georgia or the Carolinas or remain inland and stay weaker.



Atlanta is unlikely to see significant impacts from Ian, though it is likely to bring rain and gusty winds to the city beginning on Friday. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting 2 to 4 inches of rain and a 10 to 20 percent chance of tropical storm conditions.

If the storm tracks inland, it is likely that Ian will have weakened into a tropical depression by the time the storm’s center would pass close to the city.

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Charleston, S.C.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in Charleston on Friday, and a tropical storm watch and a storm surge watch have been hoisted for the city. While winds below tropical storm force are currently forecast, the National Weather Service is warning that the forecast could change to feature sustained winds at tropical storm strength.

Regardless of how strong the winds are, Ian is likely to bring rounds of heavy rainfall to the city Thursday night into Friday, with gusty winds to tropical storm force and isolated tornadoes possible.

A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is also expected in storm-surge-prone areas, with inundation possible starting Wednesday morning.

Raleigh, N.C.

No watches or warnings of any kind have been posted for Raleigh, though Ian is expected to bring heavy rainfall to as far north as the North Carolina capital — and possibly as far north as the District of Columbia — Friday night into the weekend.

Rainfall may begin to move into the Raleigh region on Thursday, though the worst of the storm is expected to occur overnight Friday, with rounds of moderate to heavy rainfall possibly resulting in sporadic flooding.