A strengthening Hurricane Ian poses a threat of being Tampa, Florida’s worst storm to hit in more than a century.
The country’s Institute of Meteorology reported that Ian, a category three storm, made landfall in western Cuba early on Tuesday.
In a special broadcast on state television, a meteorologist from the institute stated that “Ian is now over Cuban territory.” The Pinar del Río Province’s shore is where the storm’s outer wall is located.
The Tampa area was in the center of the probability track estimates since the storm’s course had earlier moved slightly east. Tampa Bay and the west coast of Florida were subject to a hurricane watch and storm surge warning. It was anticipated that more than 300,000 people will leave.
At the center, hurricane expert Brad Reinhart declared, “This is a life-threatening situation.” “Promptly follow local officials’ orders about evacuation and other matters.”
Florida could see tropical storm winds later in the day, and hurricane conditions could develop on Wednesday morning. Forecasters cautioned that this might result in catastrophic river flooding over the state’s central regions.
According to the hurricane center, Ian’s center was expected to pass across western Cuba, where the storm surge could cause sea levels to rise up to four meters above average. In some areas of Cuba, rains could cause mudslides and flash flooding.
Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, forewarned on Monday that it would be a “difficult week” for the nation. Seven western provinces, including the capital Havana, received hurricane alerts.
By the end of the week, Ian was supposed to ride up Florida’s west coast, dragging its most potent side along the ground. No matter where it strikes, the state is extremely likely to have widespread consequences from the surge, wave, and rain, according to Ryan Truchelut, owner of the weather consulting company WeatherTiger.
According to the hurricane center, its winds were expected to reach its maximum speed of 225 kph late on Tuesday through Wednesday before decreasing to 193 kph on Thursday. In 36 to 48 hours, the storm was predicted to come into contact with wind shear, which might prevent it from intensifying further.
According to Chuck Watson, an expert in disaster modeling for Enki Research, Hurricane Ian may still be the deadliest hurricane to hit Tampa in 101 years. Despite numerous recent near misses, the Tampa-St. Petersburg region was last severely damaged by a storm in 1921, which would have cost $30 billion in damages today.
More than half of the state’s orange-growing region could get winds comparable to a tropical storm from Ian, according to Mr. Watson.
Most of the Gulf of Mexico’s energy infrastructure was anticipated to be spared. However, Chevron Corp. and BP Plc claimed they had evacuated staff members and shut down several offshore oil production rigs in the area prior to the storm.
Tuesday at 5 o’clock, Tampa International Airport will stop operating. Tuesday and Wednesday will see Busch Gardens in Tampa close, while the cross-state rival Miami Dolphins’ practice facility will be used by the American football team from Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Saturday, Florida received federal disaster help after President Joe Biden authorized an emergency designation for the state. Additionally, he cancelled a planned trip to the state on Tuesday that included a DNC event in Orlando.
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, issued a state of emergency and advised citizens to be ready.
Following Hurricane Fiona, Ian is the second destructive hurricane to smash over the Atlantic in less than a week.
Fiona made landfall in Atlantic Canada over the weekend and left Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with significant damage, blackouts, and flooding. The anticipated cost of the region’s losses is $3.5 billion.