Tropical Storm Ian threatens Florida's west coast; forecast to become hurricane by Sunday

Topical Storm Ian is expected to strengthen rapidly this weekend and approach Florida at or near major hurricane strength early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Ian has picked up a little speed since this morning and is now moving toward the west near 13 mph and this general motion is expected to continue through tonight. Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida at or near major hurricane strength early next week.

There is a risk of dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of next week according to the National Hurricane Center.

Flash and urban flooding is possible with rainfall across the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula through mid next week.Additional flooding across northern Florida and parts of the Southeastern U.S. can not be ruled out, according to this latest advisory.

While it is too soon to determine the exact magnitude and location of those hazards, Floridians are urged to pay close attention to the progress of Ian.

Ian is moving over very warm waters and it should not take long for the system to develop an inner core. Once that happens, rapid intensification is expected while Ian crosses the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

Make sure you have a hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials.

Gov. DeSantis declared a preemptive state of emergency on Friday for 24 Florida counties. The governor expanded the order Saturday to include all counties.

Weather Tiger forecast: With a likely Ian incoming, Florida may see its most serious hurricane threat in years

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What we know: Is a hurricane going to hit Florida? What we know about Tropical Depression Nine

Cone of uncertainty: See the latest graphic from the NHC

Satellite images: See latest satellite image from NOAA, for a clearer picture of the storm's size

Latest data on Ian

Here is the latest data on Tropical Storm Ian pulled from the National Hurricane Center's 11 p.m. advisory.

  • Location: 395 miles southeast of Grand Cayman; 685 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba

  • Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph

  • Movement: west at 13 mph

  • Pressure: 1002 MB (millibars)

  • When next advisory will be released: 5 a.m.

Spaghetti models: Track Ian here

Helpful hurricane resources and links

Get your home ready: Here's how to prepare your home for a hurricane, from well in advance to just before a storm's arrival

Need to prepare for a hurricane? Here's what you should have in a disaster supply kit

Hurricane preparedness list: If a storm is coming, here is what you need to do now

Video: Helpful tips for a hurricane survival kit

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones: What’s an invest and why do they keep saying tropical cyclone?

Officials encourage residents to assemble a hurricane kit early, storing enough supplies to last at least three days. Doing so ensures there are adequate supplies available on store shelves and prevents a rush — and shortages — that regularly occur when a storm is imminent.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Ian's path is heading for Florida. Track its impacts on Sarasota