RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — Tropical Storm Ian is gaining strength and shifting its path slightly west, details that are bad news for the forecast in North Carolina
Sunday morning, the storm system was located just over 600 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and it was moving west-northwest at 12 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Those details represent a slight slow down and shift west — two things that could result in the storm getting stronger and bringing more elements to North Carolina.
That’s because shifting west will keep the storm in warmer water longer — giving it a chance to strengthen more — and it could prevent the storm from traveling over a major landmass, which would weaken it, before hitting Florida.
The western shift would also bring the storm’s center of rotation more inland as it pushes north through the United States. That would allow wind and rain from the storm to blanket more area of North Carolina.
Current projections have Tropical Storm Ian becoming a hurricane later today and strengthening into a major category 4 storm as it passes Cuba on Tuesday. Ian will then weaken slightly before making a landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast side of Florida.
The First Alert Weather Team said it’s still too early to give specifics about how Ian will impact our area, but early indications suggest it will bring heavy rain and wind sometime around Friday and Saturday. Right now, that heavy rain would likely dump between 2-4 inches in most places in central North Carolina.
Stick with ABC11 as our team monitors all the shifts and changes that Ian makes over the next several days.
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