KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While our weather locally is as quiet as it comes, and we stay dry for perhaps another week or so, things are bad in central and southern Florida.

Hurricane Ian, at/near category 5 strength as I start this blog, is on slow approach towards the Ft. Myers/Port Charlotte region, and it’s going to be a bad one… a likely real bad one. The storm intensified Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and that means even worse surge into those areas.

It’s a fascinating storm to watch on satellite pictures. Ian started a reorganizing on Tuesday within the inner core of the hurricane. These are common, especially with strong and intense storms.

The eye of the storm will decay, while a new eye in a sense develops and surrounds the previous eye. Then the new eye, if conditions are right, tightens back up and becomes the real core of the hurricane.

That’s what happened, and when this process occurs, the hurricane actually becomes stronger in a sense as the wind fields around the storm get larger, and that allows the storm surge to also increase with even more water piling up as the storm comes ashore.

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Kansas City weather

No real weather locally of significance. A cold front moved in overnight, and east winds will keep temperatures cooler than Tuesday by about 10-15° or so.

We should see a slow moderation back into the 70s to near-80 degrees heading into the last part of the weekend and next week.

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Hurricane Ian:

All eyes though are on Ian this morning.

The eye of the storm is about 35 miles across. The storm is impressive with winds as I type this at 155 mph.

Landfall is expected to be between Boca Grande and Englewood, Florida later this afternoon. Ian is strengthening on approach, which is a very bad thing for the folks down there.

Strongest U.S. landfalls recently:

There are track parallels to Hurricane Charley, but Ian is actually a bigger storm with wayyyy more storm surge likely. NOAA is now forecasting upwards of 12-18 feet of surge into that area.

Storm surge forecast:

Here are some close-ups:

Surge levels in Sanibel Island are expected to top 10-15 feet above “normal”. Then you add wave action on top of that, and well, not good.

We’ve got some relatives of friends who have a few houses down that way and they’re in a world of hurt, because as Ian approaches, the water will flow up Gaspirilla Sound and into the Peace River.

Right now as I type this, the water is coming out of the river, but it will reverse with the approach of Ian. Interestingly a 25-mile wobble of Ian would prevent that surge for them at least, but bring the worst farther south.

These wobbles in the storms path are typical as well with a soon-to-make-landfall hurricane.

Recon this morning got a pretty rough ride:

Overall a very impressive storm.

You can see how the upper-level winds are blowing the moisture from Ian all the way up into the northern Atlantic.

Then there is the rain aspect…

and the winds:

And the final insult to injury for this area: The storm is going to be coming in toward high tide in parts of the area, which makes the water levels even worse.

Another fascinating thing about this is because of the storms movement, the storm surge in Tampa is actually now a reverse purge of waters. The waters are draining out of Tampa Bay because of the winds blowing the water from the land areas to the ocean, forcing the waters out of the bay. So much so that boats are sitting on top of wet ground now where there used to be water!

OK I better stop now, we’ll be following this for the next couple of days.

Joe