Special Tropical Storm Ian Travel & RV Weather Forecast Sunday night 25 September

** Heads Up ** RVers in or traveling to Florida’s Gulf Coast need to stay aware of Tropical Storm Ian, now southeast of western Cuba and strengthening. There will likely be evacuations starting as early as Tuesday, and significant storm surge, flooding and wind impacts on parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast from this soon to be hurricane.

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Tropical Storm Ian:

Tropical Storm Ian is southeast of the western tip of Cuba tonight, moving to the northwest and strengthening. Ian will likely became a hurricane by early Monday morning. Ian should enter the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday morning and be to the north and west of Key West by late Tuesday evening.

As of tonight, Tropical Storm Warnings and a Storm Surge Watch are in effect for the Lower Keys.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Ft Myers to south of US-41.  Storm surges of 3-7 ft may be experienced Tuesday and Wednesday south of Ft Myers.

There is still uncertainty on where Ian will make landfall along the Gulf Coast the middle of this week; as of Sunday night  it could be anywhere from Panama City to Tampa Bay.  Regardless of the exact track of the storm, the west coast of Florida needs to prepare for a significant hurricane, as should the Panhandle from Panama City eastward.

According to the Monroe County office of Emergency Management, there are no evacuation orders in place for the Keys, including Key West.  If you are heading to the Keys, it would be wise to continue to check for the latest official information.  

RVers along the Gulf Coast of Florida (north of the Keys):  Expect Tropical Storm force winds to impact the coast from south to north starting Tuesday evening and reaching the Panhandle by Wednesday night.  The greatest risk for hurricane force winds is from Cedar Key southward to Tampa Bay.  Destructive winds, at a force you would not want to experience in your RV, may be experiences from the Big Bend region southward to Ft Myers.

All indications are this will be a strong hurricane when Ian makes landfall the latter part of this week.  In addition to winds, flooding and storm surge will be significant.  Expect infrastructure along the immediate path of the hurricane, especially along the coast, to be disrupted for days and weeks.  If you travel to the west coast of Florida this week, you may be required to evacuate on short notice.  If you are already RVing on the coast, have your evacuation plan ready to go and follow the directions of your local emergency management officials.

Where to evacuate?  Most important, get away from the immediate coast or any estuaries that are impacted by storm surge.  Water kills in hurricanes.  If you are in Tampa or south, think about evacuating to the Ft. Lauderdale / Miami area.  It’s counter-intuitive to go TO Miami to avoid a hurricane(!) … but the distance is shorter than driving up the Peninsula with a million of your new found friends.  Miami may have some squally weather but nothing that would imperil your safety.  Make sure you are not in a low-lying area or location that floods easily, as southeast Florida could still get several inches of rain from Ian.  Other options, if you choose to go north, would be almost anywhere in Alabama or Mississippi.  Those states should see little, if any impact from Ian.

Severe Weather and Tropical Watches and Warnings

— See https://rvweather.com/warnings-watches-and-advisories/#NHC_Hurricane_Advisory for the latest WARNINGS and information on Tropical Storm Ian.

— See https://rvweather.com/warnings-watches-and-advisories/#SPC_Tornado_Watch for the latest Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm WATCHES

— See https://rvweather.com/warnings-watches-and-advisories/#NWS_Tornado_Warning for the latest Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, and Flash Flood WARNINGS.

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