Tropical Storm Ian Forms in Caribbean, Heads Toward Florida

Ian is expected to rapidly intensify and become a hurricane Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

All of South Florida is now out of the cone of concern, but Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to strengthen as it moves over the western Caribbean Sea and develop into a major hurricane in coming days, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Hurricane watches have been issued for western Cuba for the provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas, according to the 11 p.m. advisory Saturday.

Early next week, the storm is expected to pass west of the Cayman Islands and graze the western tip of Cuba. Ian is then expected to become a major Category 4 hurricane as it moves on a path to the Florida peninsula, according to the latest advisory.

Limited flash flooding and urban flooding is possible with rainfall across the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula through mid next week, NHC forecasters said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded the declaration of a state of emergency Saturday to include the entire state.

The governor's declaration frees up emergency protective funding and activates members of the Florida National Guard, his office said. His order stresses that there is risk for storm surge, flooding, dangerous winds and other weather conditions throughout the state.

Ian had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving west at 13 mph about 395 miles southeast of Grand Cayman and about 685 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba, the latest advisory said.

A hurricane warning was issued for Grand Cayman, where hurricane conditions are possible by early Monday. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

The government of Jamaica has discontinued the tropical storm watch for Jamaica.

Local leaders are urging residents to prepare, not panic, for a storm that will potentially impact Florida. NBC 6's Ryan Nelson reports

Despite being out of the cone of concern officials are encouraging South Florida residents to stay vigilant.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday that it was time to make preparations.

"No cause for panic but we want everyone to be prepared," Levine Cava said at a briefing. "Now is the time to make sure that you have a hurricane plan in place."

Contact Us