Hurricane Ian has grown to near-Category 5 strength, blasting 155 mph winds and rain on Florida Gulf Coast. The National Hurricane Center says tornadoes are possible today and tonight across central and south Florida.
Central and Northeast Florida can expect 12 to 18 inches, with the local maximum rain totals up to 24 inches.
At this time Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and even LEGOLAND Florida are closed while guests who remain wait out the storm. Guests with upcoming reservations for Universal Orlando overloaded the call center today with questions which prompted Universal to send out this update.
Seven miles from Walt Disney World our own Greg will be sharing videos on the Chip and Company Instagram as Hurricane Ian makes its way inland. So stay tuned…
Here is the most recent National Hurricane Center update from 2 pm:
At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Ian was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and Tampa radar data about 50 miles south-southwest of Punta Gorda, Florida. Ian is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph (15 km/h). This general motion with a reduction in forward speed is forecast today, followed by a turn toward the northeast on Thursday.
On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move onshore soon, move over central Florida tonight and Thursday morning and emerge over the western Atlantic by late Thursday. Ian is forecast to turn northward on Friday and approach the northeastern Florida coast in addition to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts late Friday.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 155 mph (250 km/h) with higher gusts. Ian is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Ian is forecast to make landfall on the west
coast of Florida as a catastrophic hurricane soon. Weakening is expected after landfall, but Ian could be near hurricane strength when it moves over the Florida East coast tomorrow, and when it approaches the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts late Friday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). A River, Estuary, and Coastal Network station at Redfish Pass, Florida, recently reported sustained winds of 94 mph (151 km/h) and a wind gust of 126 mph (203 km/h).
The minimum central pressure is 937 mb (27.67 inches) based on Air Force Reserve dropsonde data.
Visit the National Hurricane Center website at hurricanes.gov for additional forecast information on Ian.
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