‘Catastrophic’: Forecasters warn of 18-foot storm surge from Hurricane Ian
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) increased its storm surge forecast in parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, now projecting the surge could reach as high as 18 feet when Hurricane Ian makes landfall in the coming hours.
The NHC upped its peak storm surge forecast two times on Wednesday morning as Ian approached Florida, with the worst surges expected to hit between Englewood and Bonita Beach.
“Catastrophic storm surge inundation of 12 to 18 feet above ground level along with destructive waves are expected somewhere along the southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor,” NHC said in an 11 a.m. advisory. “Residents in these areas should urgently follow any evacuation orders in effect.”
The NHC as of Tuesday evening had predicted storm surges would peak at between eight and 12 feet.
Florida Gov Ron. DeSantis (R) on Tuesday said officials have issued evacuation orders for more than 2.5 million Floridians, including those in low-lying areas expected to see particularly destructive storm surges.
Lesser storm surges could hit much of Florida’s Gulf Coast, reaching as far north as Suwannee and extending as far south as the Florida Keys.
The NHC forecasts Tampa Bay will see peak surges of between four and six feet, a more optimistic outlook for the especially vulnerable area, which was previously expected to see the brunt of Ian’s impact.
The Florida Keys are forecasted to see storm surges reach between three and five feet.
After making landfall on Wednesday afternoon, Ian is expected to move northeast across the state before reaching the Atlantic Ocean near Daytona Beach.
Storm surges are expected along the Atlantic in areas stretching from Patrick Air Force Base in Florida to as far north as Surf City, N.C., although those surges are expected to be far less severe than those seen on the Gulf Coast.