Hurricane Ian's Approach 'Near Worst-Case' for Tampa

'Just leave now,' Tampa mayor urges residents
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2022 12:04 AM CDT
Updated Sep 27, 2022 6:26 AM CDT
Hurricane Ian Looks Like Bad News for Tampa Bay
A woman takes photos while waves crash against a seawall as Hurricane Ian passes through George Town, Grand Cayman island, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Hurricane Ian is on a track to hit the west coast of Florida as a major hurricane as early as Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Kevin Morales)

The Tampa area is bracing for a direct hit as Hurricane Ian intensifies. The storm grew into a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall in Cuba on Tuesday morning, the AP reports. After lashing Cuba, the storm is expected to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico before bearing down on Florida as early as Wednesday—perhaps as a Category 4 hurricane. ABC News is offering live updates. A major storm like this hasn't struck the Tampa Bay area in more than a century, per the AP. Ian's approach is a "near worst-case" scenario for the region, the acting director of the National Hurricane Center tells CNN, according to Insider.

"This is a near worst-case approach angle coming in from the south and west and stalling," Jamie Rhome says. The current forecast shows Ian covering the entire Tampa Bay area, and moving slowly, which could allow it to do more damage. With onshore winds maximized, the chance of a storm surge of as much as 10 feet of water pouring into communities along the bay is increased. A National Weather Service meteorologist tells CNN, "We tell people even if they’re lifelong Floridians like myself, this is something that we haven’t seen in our lifetime." Tampa's mayor put it bluntly Monday: "If you can leave, just leave now. ... You can’t bring anyone back to life." (The forecast led NASA to put its moon rocket inside.)

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