RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Ian became a hurricane earlier today. As of Monday afternoon, Ian is about 225 miles south of western Cuba. It has highest sustained winds now up to 80 mph, and is moving northwest at 13 mph. This storm is moving into a favorable environment, which is also why Ian has already quickly strengthened.
Ian is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane by Tuesday morning. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center also predict it will eventually become a strong category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph in the southern Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday.
Ian is forecast to slow down and make landfall in the big bend area of Florida on Thursday. Ian is expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Friday and move up into northeast Georgia as a tropical depression with highest winds all the way down to 35 mph on Saturday.
North Carolina will likely have indirect impacts from Tropical Storm Ian in the form of heavy rain. 1 to 3 inches of rain will be possible mainly Friday night through Saturday. We will continue to track this storm and keep you updated over the week ahead.