A life-threatening storm surge is headed for the Florida west coast and is anticipated to arrive by Wednesday night, according to the NWS.
The Category 4 hurricane has prompted officials to issue storm surge, hurricane and tropical storm alerts in Florida, extending to Georgia and South Carolina.
Hurricane-force winds are expected in southwest and west-central Florida starting Wednesday morning. Tropical storm conditions could arrive as soon as Tuesday evening. The National Weather Service is advising residents to “rush all preparations to completion today.”
Tuesday evening: Heavy rainfall will pick up Tuesday across the Florida Keys and south Florida. A brief period of gusty winds and heavy rain will begin in the afternoon and evening. Rain and wind increase into the night.
Northern rain bands will start to bring brief periods of gusty winds and tropical heavy rains as early as Tuesday afternoon and evening. As the night goes on, the steady heavy rain will move up from the north and the winds will steadily increase, according to reports from NewsNation Tampa affiliate WFLA.
Fast-moving tornadoes will also become likely through the late afternoon and evening Tuesday.
Wednesday morning: The coastal area in Pinellas County and south from there should expect sustained tropical winds and more frequent rain bands, according to WFLA.
Winds will grow stronger by the middle of the day and persist. According to WFLA, most people in the Tampa Bay area should be sheltered in place prepared for two solid days of continuous impacts.
Wednesday evening: The worst of the weather will arrive as sustained tropical storm force winds and frequent hurricane gusts hit Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, according to WFLA.
The brunt of Ian could hit Florida by 8 p.m. ET.
“We’ll see it approach the coast of Florida here with the center likely making landfall sometime later tomorrow — we’re talking likely Wednesday evening,” NewsNation meteorologist Gerard Jebaily said Tuesday on “Morning in America.”
Tropical storm (39 to 74 mph) force gusts with occasional sustained tropical-storm-force winds are expected inland by Wednesday evening as well.
Water from the Gulf of Mexico will hammer Sarasota Bay, the Manatee River and touch Tampa Bay for elevated tide levels, WFLA reported.
Isolated tornadoes will be possible in the rain bands that move through.
Thursday-Friday: Flooding will move into southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina.
Rainfall will continue to the Southeast U.S. by Thursday and Friday, likely causing flash, urban and small-stream flooding, according to the NWS.
“We’re talking 15-20 inches toward central Florida, Tampa, Orlando,” Bailey said. “This could be incredible even on the interior. If you’ve been trying to get away from the storm surge you may still be in danger by being in the interior just by freshwater flooding. Try to stay away from bodies of water.”
This is a developing report. Refresh for updates.