If September in the Atlantic has felt like there's been a flurry of hurricane activity, it's because there kind of has been. We've had Danielle, Earl, Fiona all back-to-back and now hurricane Ian, a category 3 hurricane is about to move into Florida – with warnings this could be catastrophic after causing widespread destruction in western Cuba.
Life-threatening storm surge is expected along the Florida west coast and the Lower Florida Keys, coupled with hurricane-force winds to arrive this morning and heavy rainfall.
It follows Hurricane Fiona, that wrecked havoc on Puerto Rico a week ago – when the then category 4 hurricane swept across the central American nation. You can help support Puerto Rico, HERE. And now, Ian has tore through parts of Cuba, collapsing the electrical grid as of yesterday.
But as is always the way with wild and deadly storm systems, we're left feeling a little conflicted when reporting on the surf-related positives which inevitably go hand-in-hand with powerful Atlantic hurricanes. Check your local guidelines before venturing out in the area.
“Hurricane Ian is moving steadily north at about 15 mph, and is a category-3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 125 mph," says MSW forecaster Tony Butt.
Hurricane Ian entering the Gulf. This swell chart ranges from September 25 to October 1.
“Ian is expected to continue moving north and then veer slightly towards the NNE over the next two days, making landfall on the west coast of Florida sometime Wednesday night, as a dangerous major hurricane.
“Warm water and weak vertical wind shear mean that the storm will intensify as it tracks across the southeast Gulf of Mexico, hitting category 4 in the next few hours.
“The hurricane-force winds around the system will generate huge surf, but the northerly movement of the storm means that the majority of the swell will propagate from south to north.
“As a result, a pulse of swell will hit the coasts around Louisiana and Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida, arriving on Thursday. The storm centre will pass to the east of these areas, which means that local winds will be north or northeast: offshore at many spots.
“The swell will also spread out to spots in Texas and down the Gulf Coast of Mexico, arriving on Thursday and continuing through Friday, with good local conditions.”