Hurricane Ian is expected to bring dangerous storm surge and gusts of up to 140 mph as it approaches Florida’s Gulf Coast in the middle of this week, according to the National Hurricane Center on Monday. Lan had intensified into a strong Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph as it approached western Cuba, according to forecasts. Officials in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province established hundreds of shelters and made measures to preserve crops in the country’s largest tobacco-growing region. According to the National Hurricane Center in the United States, storm surges over the island’s west coast could reach 14 feet (4.3 meters).
As it approaches Cuba, Ian’s storm surge “may boost sea levels by up to 9 to 14 feet over normal tidal levels” in certain regions, according to the hurricane center. In Florida, the surge is expected to be slightly less severe, although sections of Tampa Bay may still see waters 5 to 10 feet higher than typical.
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