Hurricane Ian headed for Cuba, Florida; Predictions of strength uncertain

Unpredictable Hurricane Ian strengthened overnight as it churned in the Caribbean, prompting urgent preparations in Florida, where the storm could deliver impacts, including tornadoes, starting Tuesday before possibly arriving as a major hurricane with powerful winds and dangerous storm surge.

A Publix store was nearly sold out of water on Saturday in Orlando, Florida, as residents ready themselves ahead of Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to make landfall in the state as a hurricane.

Even as Ian grows stronger — its sustained winds are at 75 mph with higher gusts — there remains “higher than usual” uncertainty over its track and intensity, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Still, Floridians are being asked to prepare as they face the risk of dangerous storm surge, high winds and heavy rainfall along the west coast and the Florida Panhandle, the hurricane center said.

“Considerable flooding impacts are possible mid-to-late week in central Florida given already saturated antecedent conditions, and flash and urban flooding is possible with rainfall across the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula through mid-week,” the hurricane center said.

In addition to the flood threat, isolated tornadoes will be a concern in cells moving quickly through South Florida, especially tomorrow.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the entire state should get ready for Ian’s impact. 

“Make preparations now,” DeSantis said Sunday. “The things that you should be prepared with are things like food, water, batteries, medicine, fuel.” 

The governor also warned of power outages — especially wherever Ian makes landfall — as well as possible evacuations and fuel shortages.

CNN and Local10