Hurricane Ian: Storm to pass east of Jacksonville tonight before making third landfall in Charleston

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Action News Jax First Alert Weather Team is continuing to track Hurricane Ian.

Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon in Caya Costa, just north of Sanibel and Captiva islands, as a Category 4, with winds nearing Category 5 strength. After making landfall, the storm rapidly weakened and is now a tropical storm moving northeastward and became a hurricane again off the northeast Florida coast.

Ian will pass east of Jacksonville tonight, 100 miles away, then move northwest to near Charleston for its third landfall tomorrow afternoon.

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In northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, another round of moderate to major flooding will accompany the midnight high tide cycle up and down the coast with some minor nuanced flooding along the St. Johns River and its tributaries. Flooding will continue along the St. Johns River through the weekend, especially at times of high tide.

The latest track shows Ian, now off our coast, is a hurricane again.

LISTEN: Mike Buresh ‘All the Weather, All the Time’ Podcast

First Alert Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says that the exact timing and intensity of Ian’s impact will depend on the exact location and strength of the storm when it makes landfall and therefore, is subject to change.

  • Potential rainfall: Rainfall is diminishing and will end overnight Thursday with storm totals of 6-10″... 12″+ for some areas east of I-95 and near and south of Highway 16, where the strongest rain bands are expected to be the most frequent and persistent. There is a possible bullseye over approximately southeast Duval southward through much of St. Johns County, Eastern Clay and Eastern Putnam County.
  • The rainfall and surge for downtown Jacksonville does not look to be severe. This situation is different than Irma in 2017 as Irma stayed to the west causing a strong and long fetch of southerly flow up the St. Johns River into downtown Jacksonville. The current Ian forecast is somewhat more similar to Matthew in ‘16 (exception is that Matthew moved parallel & offshore the coast upon approach from the southeast vs. Irma moving south of Jax then northward just offshore).
  • The Black Creek Basin looks to be in for 1-2″ of rain or less, along with some higher than average tides and surge. However, Black Creek should not produce a “major” flood as it stands right now.
  • Storm surge is expected to average at least 4-6 feet at the Florida coast and 3-5 feet or less along the St. Johns River (for comparison, St. Johns River storm surge caused by Irma was 5-6 feet in downtown Jacksonville in Sept., 2017 & was 5-7+ feet during Matthew at the coast in Oct., 2016).
  • Seas and surf will peak Thursday and Friday with a very high rip current risk. Breakers at the beaches from 9-14+ feet Thursday and 8-12+ feet Friday, subsiding over the weekend but with dangerous rip currents continuing. West winds will do a good job of cleaning up the surf by Friday into the weekend.
  • Gusty winds will be strongest Thursday through early Friday with speeds inland of 30-45 mph but with gusts of 50-75 mph. West of Highway 301, winds will be less. At the beaches and in parts of St. Johns and Putnam Counties, winds could reach sustained tropical storm force at times of 35-45 mph with gusts 25-35 mph. Keep in mind that bridges are usually closed when sustained winds reach 40 mph, but local officials may make “the call” at anytime depending on local conditions and forecasts.
  • At least some power outages should be anticipated, especially east of I-95 and over Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler Counties. Realize utility companies will not be able to begin long term repairs until winds decrease and any flooding subsides.

Get the full breakdown by reading the latest entry of Talking the Tropics with Mike

Watches and warnings for Ian

The following watches and warnings are in effect:

  • A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Chokoloskee to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay; Sebastian Inlet to Flagler/Volusia County Line
  • A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Suwannee River southward to Flamingo; Tampa Bay; Flagler/Volusia Line to the mouth of the South Santee River; St. Johns River
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Indian Pass to the Anclote River; Flamingo to Sebastian Inlet; Flagler/Volusia County Line to Surf City; Flamingo to Chokoloskee; Lake Okeechobee; Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands
  • A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for North of South Santee River to Little River Inlet; Florida Bay
  • A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Flagler/Volusia County Line to the South Santee River; Lake Okeechobee
  • A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for North of Surf City to Cape Lookout
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Camden County
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Brantley County
  • A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Glynn County

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 to 36 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

INTERACTIVE RADAR: Keep track of the rain as it moves through your neighborhood


Follow Action News Jax Meteorologists on Twitter for updates:

Mike Buresh | Garrett Bedenbaugh | Corey Simma


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