Hurricane Ian's next punch: 10-30 inches of rain to swamp central Florida

Severe flash flooding likely from near Tampa through Orlando to Florida's east coast

Rainfall forecast
Rainfall forecast from Hurricane Ian
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Ian’s first punch delivered a devastating storm surge and damaging winds to Florida’s Gulf Coast.

As Ian’s core crawls slowly inland across Florida, the next phase of damage will likely feature severe flash flooding across parts of central Florida.

NOAA HWRF
NOAA Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting model for Hurricane Ian
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

There are several meteorological reasons why Ian is set up to produce multifoot rainfall:

  • Ian’s slow forward speed (currently 8 mph) means long-duration rainfall.

  • Ian’s large size is producing rainfall across the entire width of central Florida.

  • Relatively colder air north of the hurricane is squeezing the system at the surface and producing additional lift. That will enhance rainfall on Ian’s northern side.

10 to 30 inches

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration isn’t pulling any punches with the rainfall threat across central Florida.

Flash flood threat
Flash flood threat
NOAA

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is highlighting a swath of 1 to more than 2 feet of rainfall across central Florida from near Orlando.

Rainfall forecast
Rainfall forecast from Hurricane Ian
NOAA / NHC

The risk of flash flooding on Florida’s relatively flat and soggy terrain is high. NOAA highlights a 70 percent risk zone for flash flooding across the peninsula.

Flash flood risk
Flash flood risk
NOAA / NHC

Even as we watch Ian’s initial damage unfold from storm surge and wind, the next chapter is developing across central Florida.

Stay tuned.

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.