Raleigh, North Carolina (WTVD) – Tropical Storm Ian is gaining strength and shifting its course a little westward, a detail that is bad news for North Carolina weather forecasters.
Sunday morning, the storm system was located 600 miles southeast of Cuba’s western tip. It had a maximum wind speed of 50 miles per hour and was moving from west to northwest at 12 miles per hour, According to the National Hurricane Center.
These details represent a slight deceleration and a shift westward — two things that could increase the storm’s strength and bring more elements to North Carolina.
That’s because a shift to the west will keep the storm in warmer waters longer — giving it a change of strength more — and may prevent the storm from traveling over a large land area, potentially weakening it, before it hits Florida.
The western shift will also make the storm’s center of rotation more inward as it pushes north across the United States. This will allow wind and rain from the storm to cover a larger area of North Carolina.
Current forecasts are that Tropical Storm Ian will become a hurricane later today and strengthen to a major Category 4 storm as it passes through Cuba on Tuesday. Then Ian weakens a bit before landing somewhere along the Gulf Coast in Florida.
The First Alert Weather team said it’s still too early to give details on how Ian will affect our area, but initial indications are that it will bring heavy rain and wind sometime on Friday and Saturday. Right now, this heavy rain will likely fall between 2-4 inches in most places in central North Carolina.
Stick to ABC11 as our team monitors all of Ian’s transformations and changes over the next several days.
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