September 26 — What began as a tropical storm has now been updated to a hurricane — Hurricane Ian to be precise.
Travis Washington from the National Weather Service in Key West joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the upcoming weather.
Winds have been measured at 75 miles per hour and it’s moving northwest at about 14 miles per hour. It’s currently 425 miles south of Key West.
Washington said, “Ian is expected to continue to rapidly intensify throughout the day and overnight hours. We expect Ian to continue to move steadily closer.”
The closest Ian will be to Key West is anticipated to be 125 miles and will likely be on Tuesday at some point.
Information comes from the National Hurricane Center.
Washington said, “There have some slight changes, but nothing really major that would cause us to worry or panic at this time. In short, everything has been status quo.”
With a hurricane being 125 miles away, tropical storm winds are expected after midnight tonight as well as fast-moving rain squalls.
All preparations should be completed by tonight.
Washington said, “Anything you need to do — taking furniture off the balcony, tying down debris out in the yard or things that need to be picked up — needs to be completed by Monday evening.”
There’s also a potential for storm surge flooding one to two feet above high tide — or above ground level.
Tornados could also be an issue.
As with other tropical storms, the Keys could anticipate downed trees and power lines and anything not tied down could be blown away or into cars or windows.
Washington said, “The best thing to do is just go through the emergency preparedness plan and also listen to the Key West Emergency Managers. If you know some elderly people that may not have family around, go check on them before this evening to make sure they’re secure and prepared for the tropical storm force winds.”
Some forecasts are saying the storm could sit off the west coast of Florida for a while and continue to cause damage.
Washington said, “The first 48 hours, we expect the track to continue to the north west, but after that, those hours, things become uncertain. There’s so many scenarios that can happen. So it’s best for all of west Florida, in the panhandle of Florida stay abreast of the situation. Make sure you have all your emergency preparedness plan in place.”
Listeners were reminded not to drive through deep water — turn around, don’t drown.
Washington said, “Hopefully everyone is prepared for Hurricane Ian and the winds that it will bring and also the flooding rains. Again, although it is away from us, we will still feel the effects. Be prepared.”