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Ian strengthens to hurricane status, moves toward Cuba, Gulf of Mexico

WFTV Orlando 9/26/2022 George Waldenberger, Kassandra Crimi, Jack DeMarco, Gene Saladna

Hurricane Ian officially formed in the western Caribbean on Monday morning and could impact Florida and Central Florida later this week.

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5 a.m. Update

Ian became a hurricane Monday as it moved through the western Caribbean. Impacts to Central Florida could begin as soon as late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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11 p.m. Update

The center of Ian track shifts east, a bit closer to Central Florida, which means it is intensifying now.

The lower Florida Keys is under a tropical storm warning.

Parts of the Florida Keys under storm surge watch and parts of Southwest Florida are under tropical storm watch.

8 p.m. Update:

Ian is strengthening and becoming better organized, with winds now to 60 mph.

Right now, it’s 430 miles from the western tip of Cuba, now beginning to move more northwestward.

5 p.m. Update:

Tropical Storm Ian is still disorganized but expected to rapidly intensify over the next few days.

The lower Florida Keys have been placed under a tropical storm watch.

Once Ian moves into the Eastern Gulf, uncertainty grows on the exact track.

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Overall, the track shifted a little farther east, closer to Central Florida.

11 a.m. Update:

Ian remains a tropical storm with winds at 50 miles per hour.

There was no noticeable shift east or west for the latest track.

We anticipate this storm to rapidly intensify as it approaches SW Cuba.

Ian is expected to reach hurricane status on Sunday and could be a major hurricane by late Monday night.

Ian will bring significant impacts to Grand Cayman and portions of Cuba.

Next week, parts of Florida will feel the impacts of this storm.

There is a lot of uncertainty that remains in the long-range forecast.

Jogs in the track both East and West are still possible, meaning that it is too early to say if it’s a Panhandle storm, a Cedar Key storm, or a Tampa storm.

Central Florida will likely feel some impacts regardless, but the magnitude of these impacts could change.

Previous Story:

Tropical Storm Ian is expected to become a major hurricane as it approaches Cuba within the next 48 hours.

Hurricane warnings are in place for Western Cuba as Ian approaches.

Read: Hurricane supply checklist: What should you include in your kit?

There’s still a lot of uncertainty in models once Ian moves north of Cuba.

The forecast keeps Ian as a major hurricane on our west coast, making landfall near the Big Bend Coast. Due to the uncertainty, we can’t pin down Ian’s impact on our area quite yet.

Read: Eye on the Tropics: Peak of hurricane season update and safety tips

Ian is expected to impact Central Florida on Wednesday and Thursday

Squally weather, heavy rain and tornadic potential will be our biggest concerns.

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