Hurricane Ian has reached maximum sustained winds up to 100 mph on Monday, making it a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
The center of the storm is located just over 150 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba as it moves north-northwest.
Conditions in western Cuba are expected to deteriorate through the night, with “significant wind and storm surge impacts expected,” the hurricane center said. Forecasts say Ian will likely be a Category 3 with winds of 120 mph or greater when it moves over Cuba on Tuesday morning.
“Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 9 to 14 feet above normal tide levels along the coast of western Cuba in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning area tonight and early Tuesday,” the hurricane center said.
Additionally, a storm surge warning has been added for portions of western Florida with 5 to 10 feet of surge possible, according to the latest advisory. The warning stretches from Anclote River southward to Flamingo, including Tampa Bay.
“A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations,” the hurricane center said.
“The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” it added.