Category 3 Hurricane Ian is headed toward Florida.

Threatening storm surge and gusts of up to 140 mph are expected from Hurricane Ian when it approaches the Florida Gulf Coast in the middle of the week, the National Hurricane Center said on Monday.

When of 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Hurricane Ian had grown into a strong Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, as it made landfall in western Cuba, according to weather experts. Many shelters were erected and measures were taken by authorities in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province to save crops in the country’s primary tobacco-growing area. The U.S. National Hurricane Ian Center predicted that the storm surge might reach as high as 14 feet (4.3 meters) along the island’s western shore.

The Hurricane Ian center predicts that Ian will bring a storm surge to Cuba that “may elevate sea levels by as much as 9 to 14 feet above normal tidal levels.” Florida’s expected surge is milder, but it may still cause water levels in Tampa Bay to rise by 5 to 10 feet.

The National Hurricane Center said that at 5 a.m., Ian was located about 5 miles west of the city of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, and was heading northwest at 12 mph. Hurricane center senior expert Daniel Brown told The Associated Press, “Cuba is anticipating strong hurricane-force winds, also life-threatening storm surge and significant rains.”

Hurricane Ian Lashes Cuba, Aims At Florida As Possible Category 4 Storm

Hurricane Ian Lashes Cuba

The storm is forecast to turn north and northeast during the following 48 hours, and its anticipated landfall location in the United States will depend on the exact timing of these changes.

After a peaceful summer, Ian begins to trigger alarms.

Currently, western Cuba is under a hurricane warning, which means that hazardous weather is expected over the next several days. From Englewood in the south to the mouth of the Anclote River in the north, a hurricane watch covers about 100 miles of Florida’s coast, including the cities of Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg in the United States. It is standard practice to issue a hurricane watch 48 hours before the onset of Hurricane Ian conditions.

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Although the first Hurricane Ian of the 2022 season didn’t make landfall until earlier this month, Ian is already the fourth storm to form in the Atlantic. Fluctuations in the jet stream and heat waves in the northern latitudes have been responsible for the lack of above-average activity predicted for the 2022 hurricane season.

However, Ian’s ominous demeanor serves as a reminder of a warning often issued by hurricane experts: even a single devastating storm may completely change people’s lives.

It just takes one land-falling storm to make it a horrible season for you, Jamie Rhome, interim director of the NHC, told NPR earlier this month.

Florida has been declared a state of emergency by both President Biden and Governor Ron DeSantis. This will allow state and federal agencies to work together more effectively in their preparations and responses.

Florida residents are keeping a careful eye on the developing storm.

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Forecasts for Ian’s likely route are being closely watched all along the eastern Gulf of Mexico coast. Even if Hurricane Ian doesn’t seem to make landfall in your location at this time, experts nevertheless advise you to have an emergency plan in place.

Current forecasts show that the storm will stay far away from the western coast of Florida as it heads north into the Panhandle. There will be significant precipitation throughout its path, however, with local totals of up to 15 inches and regional totals of 8-10 inches across central and western Florida.

Hurricane Ian at Florida

Storm surge and waves pushed up by high winds are predicted to combine to create the deepest seas near the shoreline on the right side of the storm.

The NHC warned on Monday that by the middle of the week, the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle may see “life-threatening” storm surges, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains from Ian.

People in the line of the storm are stocking up on food, water, batteries, and other necessities. There were reports of empty shelves in northern Florida, but many in the Tampa region were calmer as they prepared for Hurricane Ian to pass them by.

A customer at the Winn-Dixie in Sarasota said on Sunday to WUSF, “It’s going west.” “Only a small number of the models indicate that we will be affected; the others all point to the Panhandle.”