Tropical Depression Nine formed from the system in the southeastern Caribbean on Friday and forecast models show the system turning north, passing over Cuba and heading into the Gulf of Mexico and reaching Florida as Major Hurricane Ian in the middle of next week.
According to the latest forecast models, South Florida is in the cone of a possible Category 3 storm.
“It looks like it’s going to end up being a big hurricane,” said Will Redman, spokesman for the National Weather Service in Miami.
Warm waters in the Caribbean and Gulf could help turn the storm into a hurricane. Forecasters expect it to become a hurricane Monday morning, according to the center’s latest advisory.
At that time, forecasts show that the storm is approaching Florida and the effects will be felt on Monday.
“Significant impacts, if any, from the storm would likely not begin until Monday night, and would most likely begin Tuesday,” the Miami National Weather Service said in its 5 p.m. update.
Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 24 counties on Friday, including South Florida, Monroe County, as far north as Brevard County and several counties on the West Coast. The Florida National Guard will be activated and ready to respond as needed, the emergency order says.
“The current forecast shows a possible hurricane, even a major hurricane at some point as it approaches Florida,” Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said Friday afternoon.
He encouraged South Floridians to stay vigilant over the weekend.
“It’s time to start getting those hurricane plans out, making sure everyone has all the things they need in their kits, water, knowing where their insurance papers are,” Garcia said. “Stay tuned to what is happening with the forecast. Things will probably progress through the weekend and into early next week where that attention will be needed.”
The Miami National Weather Service wrote in its report Friday morning that “all tropical threats are in play” in South Florida, including damaging winds, storm surge, flooding and tornadoes.
“There is still a fair amount of uncertainty in the forecast track in the 4-5 day time frame,” said Phillipe Papin, a specialist at the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Hermine formed at 5 p.m. Friday from Tropical Depression Ten several hundred miles east of the African coast, according to the center’s latest advisory. Hermine is moving north to northwest at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
Hermine could strengthen through Saturday but is expected to weaken from Sunday and dissipate early next week, the NHC said in its 5 pm update. Her current trajectory does not show her reaching land.
In its 5 pm update, the National Hurricane Center said the storm expected to become Ian is moving west-northwest at 15 mph. It was 430 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica and 930 miles southeast of Havana, Cuba.
Experts expect it to move further west over the next day before turning west-northwest and then northwest over the weekend.
Forecasters said heavy rains could begin arriving in South Florida on Monday, presenting a risk of limited urban and flash flooding, according to the latest advisory.
Maximum sustained wind speeds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. There will be a slow intensification over the weekend projected to become Tropical Storm Ian later on Friday.
Hurricane watches were issued as of 5 pm for the Cayman Islands while Jamaica is under a tropical storm watch. The storm will pass south of Jamaica on Saturday night and Sunday and move toward the Cayman Islands on Sunday night and Monday morning.
The five-day track has it turning north Tuesday over Cuba and then stalling off Florida’s southwest coast as a Category 2 hurricane packing 110 mph winds and gusting to 130 mph Wednesday morning.
Tropical Depression Nine will likely bring heavy rain, flash flooding, and possible landslides to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, with heavy rain to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in the coming days.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management issued a press release Friday morning announcing that the state is preparing for a possible landfall and urging Floridians to prepare their homes for the storm.
“It is critical that Floridians remain vigilant and prepared – it only takes one storm to cause costly or irreversible damage to your home or business,” FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Fiona has weakened to a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds according to the 5 p.m. update.
The storm is 370 miles south-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, moving northeast “very fast,” according to the National Hurricane Center advisory.
Meanwhile, the Bermuda Weather Service has lifted the tropical storm warning for Bermuda.
Hurricane conditions are expected to begin in Canada on Friday night, with the center of the storm approaching Nova Scotia. Several parts of Canada are under a hurricane warning as of 5 p.m. Friday, including parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Fiona is the first major hurricane of the 2022 season, that is, category 3 and above.
Forecasters are also monitoring another system in the Atlantic. A broad area of low pressure in the Atlantic has a 30% chance of developing in the next five days, although Tropical Depression Nine is the biggest concern.
“The one to definitely watch is the system moving into the southeastern Caribbean,” said Eric Blake, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Gaston is expected to gradually weaken over the next few days. The storm is expected to move today over the Azores, 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal.
Hurricane season ends on November 30. The next named storm after Ian would be Julia.
Updates on this link: IAN.