The IHPA has partnered with Professor David Dilley of Global Weather Oscillations, who has a nearly 90% accuracy rate for predicting storms. Below are his predictions and thoughts regarding Tropical Storm Ian, as well as summaries of the different models and their current predictions.
Professor David Dilley – 9/25
The computer models are still not in agreement as of 3PM. The NOAA Model has nudged the tracking a little more to the east today with landfall in the Big Bend Region of the Eastern Florida Panhandle. The European model remains consistent with a landfall further east very near Tampa Florida – and a day earlier than NOAA with the timing being on Thursday.
My hurricane zone predictions released in late January Red Flagged the West Coast of Florida for a Major Hurricane this year with a landfall near or just north of Tampa and then tracking north to northeast. This is still a plausible track especially if we split the difference between the NOAA and European Model.
Ian will be a major Category 3 to 4 hurricane as it moves toward Florida – but the National Hurricane Center expects it to encounter upper level wind shear with it diminishing to a Category 1 prior to landfall near the Big Bend.
However – the European model moves the storm quicker to the north with landfall near Tampa a day earlier than the NOAA model. If this occurs – there will not be as much weakening of the storm and it could be a Category 3 upon landfall.
Bottom Line: Even if Hurricane Ian diminishing the combination of storm surge along the coast and tremendous rain and wide spread strong tropical force winds would cause major damage – flooding and power outages to boot.
I expect a landfall late Thursday just above Tampa as a near Major Category 3 hurricane – then having the forward speed slow down with torrential rains and very strong tropical storm conditions inland.
If this storm tracks more to the east and strikes the West Coast of Florida – it would have a strong likelihood for being much more destructive and dangerous than Irma was several years ago – this hurricane will still be strengthening when it hits – Irma was weakening. Expect historical type storm surge and flooding along the west coast near the landfall, and torrential rains across Central and Northern Florida.
National Hurricane Center – 5 PM Today
The NOAAA GFS model has trended slightly eastward for the past few cycles, which has brought the multi-model consensus aids a bit eastward as well. The latest NHC track forecast has been adjusted in this direction, but only on the order of 15-20 n mi in the extended range. Users are reminded not to focus on the details of the track forecast at longer time ranges, since uncertainty is still high and future adjustments may be required.
This forecast remains close to the IVCN multi-model consensus, with some model aids including HCCA showing even higher peak intensities. Strong southwesterly shear develops over Ian by 72 h related to interaction with an upper-level trough, and the structure of the cyclone could significantly degrade before landfall given these hostile conditions. However, Ian is likely to have an expanding wind field and will be slowing down by that time, which will have the potential to produce significant wind and storm surge impacts across portions of the Florida west coast and the Florida panhandle.