Tropical Storm Ian set to intensify in Northwestern Caribbean

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 12:07 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2022 at 11:24 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Tropical Storm Ian is better organized tonight as it approaches the Northwestern Caribbean.

The latest National Hurricane Center forecast carries the storm through the Yucatan channel over Cuba before moving Ian into the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday. During that time, rapid intensification will allow the Tropical Storm to likely reach major hurricane intensity. The NHC forecasts that Ian will continue north through the Gulf of Mexico, with all of Northwest Florida now underneath the cone of uncertainty.

The storm is set to enter an extremely favorable atmospheric environment late Sunday, as it moves over the highest tropical cyclone heat potential in the Atlantic Basin. Intensification will help the storm turn to the north. Likewise, an upper-level trough will help break down the ridge to the north of the storm. This gives Ian a path to escape and will initiate it’s northward turn from it’s current westward motion.

Steering features once the storm moves north become difficult to forecast. Better confidence in will be earned once Ian develops a defined center of circulation, and models begin to pick up on how Ian interacts with the upper-level trough.

The key points for now is that there is still lots of uncertainty for the long-term future of Tropical Storm Ian. With nearly 200 miles of variance in models by day 5, it’s certainly not time to hit the panic button in the Panhandle. Landfall could occur anywhere between Mobile and Ft. Meyers mid-week.

We’ll have a much clearer picture regarding how the storm will play out come Sunday Night/Monday Morning.

Stay with NewsChannel 7 for updates.