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Tropical Storm IAN

Tropical Storm Ian Discussion Number   8
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL092022
1100 PM EDT Sat Sep 24 2022
A NOAA G-IV Hurricane Hunter jet flew a surveillance around and 
across Ian at high altitude earlier this evening and dropped 
several dropsondes near the estimated center.  The surface winds 
from the instruments suggested that Ian had an elongated surface 
circulation from northwest to southeast, but one dropsonde in 
particular had a lower pressure than the others, which helped to 
located the center.  Some new convection has been forming near this 
location recently, which provides a little more confidence in the 
estimate.  The minimum pressure has fallen to 1002 mb, a consensus 
of satellite intensity estimates suggests that the maximum winds are 
now near 45 kt.

The track forecast reasoning remains unchanged, with Ian expected 
to curve around the western periphery of the Atlantic subtropical 
ridge through the 5-day forecast period.  There has also been 
little change in the individual model solutions--the ECMWF remains 
on the eastern side of the guidance envelope and the GFS remains on 
the western side.  Since there has been no significant change in 
the guidance, the new NHC track forecast is very similar to the 
previous one through day 3, although it has been nudged slightly 
westward (again) on days 4 and 5 over the eastern Gulf of Mexico in 
the direction of the TVCN and HCCA consensus aids.

Ian is now in an environment of low shear and high atmospheric 
moisture and over waters of high ocean heat content.  Once the 
circulation becomes vertically stacked, which should be soon, these 
conditions favor rapid intensification (RI) while Ian moves over 
the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  Several RI indices support this 
scenario, with the Deterministic to Probabilistic Statistical Rapid 
Intensification Index (DTOPS) in particular showing a greater than 
90 percent chance of RI during the ensuing 48- and 72-hour forecast 
periods.  The NHC official forecast explicitly shows RI beginning 
on Sunday, with Ian predicted to peak at category 4 intensity over 
the eastern Gulf of Mexico in about 3 days.  

By days 4 and 5, global models are leaning toward a scenario where 
Ian enters into an environment of very strong southwesterly shear, 
and weakening is therefore expected while Ian approaches the coast 
of the Florida panhandle.  That said, Ian is likely to have an 
expanding wind field and will be slowing down by that time, which 
will have the potential to produce significant wind and storm surge 
impacts despite any potential weakening.  Users are urged to not 
focus on specific forecast intensities in the 4- and 5-day forecasts 
and instead focus on the potential hazards Ian may produce across 
portions of Florida.

Key Messages:
1.  Ian is expected to produce heavy rainfall and instances of flash 
flooding and possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain, 
particularly over Jamaica and Cuba.  Flash and urban flooding is 
possible with rainfall across the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula 
through mid next week.  Additional flooding on rivers across 
northern Florida and parts of the Southeast cannot be ruled out. 
2.  Hurricane or tropical storm conditions are expected on Grand
Cayman beginning early Monday.
3.  Ian is forecast to be a major hurricane when it passes near or
over western Cuba, and there is increasing confidence in a
life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds in portions
of western Cuba beginning late Monday.  Hurricane and tropical 
storm watches are now in effect for much of western Cuba.
4. Ian is expected to remain a major hurricane when it moves
generally northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the
middle of next week, but uncertainty in the long-term track 
and intensity forecast is higher than usual.  Regardless of Ian’s 
exact track and intensity, there is a risk of dangerous storm 
surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west 
coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next 
week, and residents in Florida should ensure they have their 
hurricane plan in place, follow any advice given by local officials, 
and closely monitor updates to the forecast.
INIT  25/0300Z 14.7N  77.7W   45 KT  50 MPH
 12H  25/1200Z 15.3N  79.3W   55 KT  65 MPH
 24H  26/0000Z 16.6N  81.0W   70 KT  80 MPH
 36H  26/1200Z 18.3N  82.5W   85 KT 100 MPH
 48H  27/0000Z 20.1N  83.7W  100 KT 115 MPH
 60H  27/1200Z 22.0N  84.5W  115 KT 130 MPH...OVER WEST TIP OF CUBA
 72H  28/0000Z 23.9N  84.9W  120 KT 140 MPH...OVER WATER
 96H  29/0000Z 27.2N  84.8W  115 KT 130 MPH
120H  30/0000Z 29.6N  84.1W   80 KT  90 MPH
Forecaster Berg