The National Weather Service updated the agency’s forecast of Hurricane Ian Tuesday, classifying the storm now as a major hurricane.
Hurricane Ian is currently projected to enter the Gulf of Mexico this morning, which could bring flooding and strong winds to Alabama, according to the weather agency.
A major hurricane, by definition, is a hurricane that is a Category 3 or higher. The advisory, issued September 27, also states that the hurricane’s path is toward the Gulf’s southeastern area.
The Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency continues to monitor the hurricane as it approaches, with local EMA Director Jason Moran explaining that county officials expect to know the storm’s exact path by Wednesday.
“We will have a better understanding at least by Wednesday where the impacts are and where it's possibly going to go. As long as we stay on the west side of the [hurricane] that's always a good side,” Moran said.
For Alabama, the NWS predicts the state could begin feeling the hurricane’s effects by Thursday, with potential for sustained winds up to 20 mph and wind gusts up to 35 mph near the I-85 corridor. According to the report, the winds are forecast to last until early Saturday.
Sign up for our Free Newsletters
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
“They're anticipating this point in time with forecasts about one inch of rain possibly, and some wind, maybe some gusty wind, but hopefully we'll be right on the edges,” Moran said.
Flooding could also occur, but is likely to occur Friday and into Saturday, and is projected to be localized in eastern Alabama near the state line.
As long as Alabama remains to the hurricane’s west side, Moran expects less severe weather effects, but cautioned that hurricanes can suddenly shift directions.
“We have learned in the past, storms can actually change their track at the last minute, and jog a little bit one way east or west and affect the whole forecast, but as long as we stay on the west side, that's always the good side,” he said.
The Tallapoosa County EMA hosted a webinar with the NWS at 11 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the storm’s impact on the state.