Storm Front Comin’…..
It’s late morning on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 here in Lithia, Florida, and as Hurricane Ian moves closer to the Florida peninsula, the weather picture is, literally, gray and gloomy.
As I write this, things are relatively quiet. It is not raining; the skies are mostly cloudy, and the temperature is a mild 78°F/25°C outside (although, this being Florida, it feels a bit warmer than that cos of humidity). However, one of Ian’s massive outer bands is making its way towards west-central Florida in a counterclockwise direction, so by the time I finish this post it’s possible that we’ll see rain showers and thunderstorms overhead.
Late in the afternoon yesterday, one of Ian’s outer bands made its way this far north, and wow, it was quite a “dark and stormy” evening. I can’t recall the exact time because I did not take a screenshot from my Weather app, but I think it was around 4:30 PM when, all of a sudden, the light levels in my room (which are already low because I keep my venetian blinds and curtains closed; I leave a gap open with the curtains to allow some light from my window to filter through) dropped dramatically and I had to turn on my bedroom lamp so I could at least see my keyboard while I typed.
Soon after that, the rain started to fall, and not gradually going from drizzle to downpour but rather as a deluge from the start. There were also plenty of lightning strikes, and they were coming so close and frequently that I logged off from my computer and stayed off for about 90 minutes.
Eventually, that outer band left the area, and the night was relatively normal. We brought in all the patio furniture and my mom’s small portable BBQ from the backyard, as well as the chairs and table that the lady that owns the house has on the front porch. Anything that could potentially become a missile that could break a neighbor’s window in a hurricane-force windstorm is now inside, mostly in the garage.
The 11 AM Advisory
As for where Ian is now and where it might be tomorrow – which is the day I am most worried about – I will just share the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami:
Hurricane Ian Advisory Number 18
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL092022
1100 AM EDT Tue Sep 27 2022
…POWERFUL HURRICANE IAN EMERGES INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF
…NEW WATCHES AND WARNINGS ISSUED FOR FLORIDA, GEORGIA AND SOUTH
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 305 MI…490 KM SSW OF SARASOTA FLORIDA
ABOUT 125 MI…200 KM SSW OF THE DRY TORTUGAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…115 MPH…185 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 5 DEGREES AT 10 MPH…17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…963 MB…28.44 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:
A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for the U.S. east coast from
Marineland Florida to the mouth of St. Mary’s River including the
St. Johns River, and the Dry Tortugas. Along the Florida west
coast, a Storm Surge Warning has been issued from Suwanee River to
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the west coast of Florida from
south of Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee.
A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from the mouth of the St.
Mary’s River to South Santee River South Carolina.
The Tropical Storm Warning along the U.S. east coast has been
extended north to Altamaha Sound Georgia and south to Boca Raton
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from south of Boca Raton to east
of Flamingo Florida, for the upper Florida Keys and Florida Bay.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from north of Altamaha Sound to
South Santee River South Carolina.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa
* Bonita Beach to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay
* Dry Tortugas
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Suwanee River southward to Flamingo
* Tampa Bay
* Dry Tortugas
* Marineland to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River
* St. Johns River
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas
* Suwannee River to the Anclote River
* Flamingo to Bonita Beach
* Lower and Middle Florida Keys
* Boca Raton to Altamaha Sound
* Lake Okeechobee
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to Key West
* Florida Bay
* Aucilla River to Suwanee River
* Mouth of St. Mary’s River to South Santee River
* South of Marineland to the Volusia/Flagler county line
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Anclote River to Suwannee River
* South of Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* North of Suwannee River to Indian Pass
* North of Altamaha Sound to South Santee River
* South of Boca Raton to east of Flamingo
* Upper Florida Keys
* Florida Bay
A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening
inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in
the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk, please
see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic,
available at hurricanes.gov. This is a life-threatening situation.
Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions
to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for
other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other
instructions from local officials.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and
property should be rushed to completion.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area.
A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-
threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the
coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible
within the watch area.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
For storm information specific to your area, please monitor
products issued by your national meteorological service.
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Ian was located
near latitude 23.0 North, longitude 83.5 West. Ian is moving toward
the north near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this motion is expected to
continue today. A turn toward the north-northeast with a reduction
in forward speed is forecast tonight and Wednesday. On the
forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move over the
southeastern Gulf of Mexico in a couple of hours, pass west of the
Florida Keys later today, and approach the west coast of Florida
within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday and Wednesday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher
gusts. Ian is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson
Hurricane Wind Scale. Re-strengthening is expected later today
through Wednesday. Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of
Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the
center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles
The estimated minimum central pressure is 963 mb (28.44 inches)
based on Air Force Hurricane Hunter data.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
Key messages for Ian can be found in the Tropical Cyclone Discussion
under AWIPS header MIATCDAT4 and WMO header WTNT44 KNHC and on the
web at hurricanes.gov/text/MIATCDAT4.shtml.
STORM SURGE: The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause
normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters
moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the
following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if
the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…
* Middle of Longboat Key to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte
* Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee…5-8 ft
* Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa
* Suwannee River to Anclote River…4-6 ft
* Mouth of the St. Mary’s River to Altamaha Sound…4-6 ft
* Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable…4-6 ft
* Dry Tortugas…3-5 ft
* Marineland to Mouth of the St. Mary’s River, including St.
Johns River…3-5 ft
* Altamaha Sound to Savannah River…3-5 ft
* St. Johns River south of Julington…2-4 ft
* Savannah River to South Santee River…2-4 ft
* Flagler/Volusia County Line to Marineland…2-4 ft
* East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge…2-4 ft
* Aucilla River to Suwannee River…2-4 ft
* Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line…1-3 ft
* Indian Pass to Aucilla River…1-3
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to
the right of the center, where the surge will be accompanied by
large waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing
of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short
distances. For information specific to your area, please see
products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast
Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet
above normal tide levels along the coast of western Cuba in areas of
onshore winds in the hurricane warning area early today.
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area in
Cuba through early afternoon, with destructive winds likely for a
few more hours. Tropical storm conditions are expected within the
tropical storm warning area in Cuba today.
Hurricane conditions are expected along the west coast of Florida
within the Hurricane Warning area on Wednesday morning, with
tropical storm conditions possibly beginning by late today. Tropical
storm conditions are expected in the Tropical Storm Warning area
along the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula by this evening,
and along the west coast north of the Tampa Bay area and along
portions of the east coast of Florida on Wednesday. Hurricane
conditions are possible in the watch area beginning on Wednesday.
Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area in the
lower and middle Florida Keys beginning later today, and are
possible in southeastern Florida in the Tropical Storm Watch area
beginning this evening. Tropical storm conditions are expected in
the Tropical Storm Warning area on the east coast of Florida
beginning early Wednesday, spreading up to Georgia and South
Carolina on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in
the Tropical Storm Watch area in the Florida Big Bend area on
Wednesday into early Thursday.
RAINFALL: Ian is expected to produce the following rainfall through
* Western Cuba: 6 to 12 inches, with isolated totals up to 16
inches. These rains may produce flash flooding and mudslides in
areas of higher terrain over western Cuba.
* Florida Keys and South Florida: 4 to 6 inches, with isolated
totals up to 8 inches.
* Central West Florida: 12 to 16 inches, with isolated totals up to
* Northeast Florida and the remainder of the Central Florida
Peninsula: 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 12 inches.
* Heavy rainfall is expected to affect the southeastern United
States Friday and Saturday.
Widespread considerable flash and urban flooding are expected
mid-to-late week across central and northern Florida, southern
Georgia, and coastal South Carolina, with significant, prolonged
river flooding expected across central to northern Florida. Flash
and urban flooding are also expected with rainfall across southern
Florida through mid week. Limited flash and river flooding is
expected over portions of the southeastern United States into the
Mid-Atlantic mid-to-late week.
TORNADOES: Tornadoes are possible today through Wednesday across
the Florida Keys and the southern and central Florida Peninsula.
SURF: Swells generated by Ian are affecting the western Caribbean,
and the Florida Keys, and will spread northward throughout the
eastern Gulf of Mexico tonight and Wednesday. These swells are
likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Please consult products from your local weather office.
Next intermediate advisory at 200 PM EDT.
Next complete advisory at 500 PM EDT.
Where Will We Be on Wednesday? (Hint: No One Knows For Sure)
Because the movement of tropical cyclones is never 100% predictable, I don’t think anyone at the National Hurricane Center knows precisely where Ian will make landfall. From my perspective, the longer it stays in a northerly course, the better our chances of not getting a direct hit by the storm’s core – the eye wall – get. So if Ian makes its “turn to the right” on a northeasterly direction in the Big Bend area, it will suck for the residents of that part of Florida, but we in Lithia – and the greater Tampa area – will be spared from the worst effects of the hurricane.
Obviously, Hurricane Ian is a huge system and even if that “best case scenario” goes as I have described, we are still going to have to deal with the outer bands. Those will still have tropical storm or hurricane force winds, and we will experience nasty weather for a prolonged period. As of the 11 AM advisory, Ian is moving north at 10 MPH, which is not exactly fast as far as forward movement goes. (Hurricane Andrew, which hit Miami-Dade County 30 years ago, was a fast-moving hurricane; it barreled to the west at 18 mph, which means it did not linger longer over South Florida.) As it moves further north, the Coriolis effect and the prevailing wind currents will probably make the storm move faster, but right now the 10-mph speed means we won’t see the worst of Hurricane Ian until tomorrow.
I don’t know what I will do for the rest of the day after I post this. I tend to get stressed out whenever a hurricane is in the area, so I will probably seek ways to keep my mind off the damned storm for a while. I will take a shower and change into street clothes; the hot shower itself will relax me for a while, and who knows what will happen with Ian. Past storms that have made either direct impacts on the Tampa Bay area or have made close approaches did not knock out the power, but this time we may not be so lucky. If the power goes out for a while in our neighborhood, who knows when I’ll take another shower again?
I might watch a few of my movies on Blu-ray while I still can, or maybe I will play some of my computer games or listen to music…again, while I still can.
When – not if – the outer bands whizz through the Central Florida/Gulf Coast and there is lightning around, of course, I can’t do any of that, so I will read books. I have plenty of them, and I am forever grateful to my maternal grandmother, “Tata,” for teaching me how to read when I was but a toddler. At least I will have a way to pass the time if the power is out.
And, of course, I will hope that Ian stays offshore and heads north till it reaches the Florida panhandle. Wishful thinking, and maybe a bit too selfish of me to want a tropical storm to affect other people who are not in my area, but hey. I have been through too many hurricanes and tropical storms to feel otherwise.
I should go and take that shower now before the outer bands bring thunderstorms and lightning strikes, so I will close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the not-so-stormy side.