Tropical Storm Ian Live Updates: Tropical storm watch in Englewood, track closer to Sarasota-Manatee

11 p.m. update I Track closer to Sarasota-Manatee; tropical storm watch in Englewood

The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm watch for the west coast of Florida from Englewood southward to Chokoloskee. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions could affect the area within 48 hours.

While continuing to say there is more uncertainty than usual in the long-range forecast for potential Hurricane Ian, the hurricane center moved the center line of the track closer to the west coast of Florida and closer to the Sarasota and Manatee area. The forecast has Ian as a major hurricane west of the Tampa Bay area as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, then weakening before landfall further east than previous forecasts, still in the Big Bend area west of Gainesville.

The hurricane center said a 7 foot storm surge was possible from the Englewood area to Bonita Beach in its 11 p.m. advisory.

6 p.m. update | Sarasota, Manatee schools open Monday as officials watch Ian

Sarasota and Manatee County school officials tweeted Sunday that schools will be open Monday with normal operations. The Sarasota district said there is a possibility that schools might close on Tuesday for shelter openings. Both counties said they continue to monitor Tropical Storm Ian and consult with county emergency officials.

The Herald-Tribune will post updates and the school districts will also post on their websites at and

Meanwhile, further north in the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough school officials announced public schools will be closed Monday through Thursday of this week because many schools would be needed as evacuation shelters. Pinellas and Pasco counties said their schools would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. No evacuations had been ordered as of late Sunday.

5 p.m. update | Ian's forecast track shifts eastward, closer to Sarasota-Bradenton area but uncertainty remains

The future Hurricane Ian is continuing to make it difficult for forecasters to narrow down an expected path. In its 5 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center shifted the track for the center of the storm about 20 miles to the east, which would project a landfall further east in the Big Bend area sometime Friday.

However, forecasters noted that some models continue to bring the storm into the west central Florida coast, near the Sarasota-Bradenton area, while others show it headed more toward the Panhandle. One model that had been among the westernmost, the GFS, has trended eastward for the past few runs, helping to prompt the small shift in the NHC track.

The hurricane center reported that Ian has yet to develop an inner core, but that significant, rapid intensification is still expected, with Ian becoming a hurricane on Monday and a major hurricane of Category 3 strength (sustained winds of more than 111 mph) or more by Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico. Some models show even higher intensities, the center said.

However, the forecast noted that by Wednesday evening, Ian is likely to be encountering significant shear and should weaken before landfall. Still, the center warned that the wind field will be wide, the storm will be slowing down and wind and storm surge impacts will be felt across the Florida west coast and Panhandle.

Get hurricane updates in our mobile app: Download the updated Herald-Tribune app, which now offers a customized user experience

Governor's message: 'Make preparations now': DeSantis urges vigilance as Ian poised to strike as major hurricane

NHC 5 p.m. Sunday forecast for Ian
NHC 5 p.m. Sunday forecast for Ian

A tropical storm watch was issued Sunday evening for parts of the Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge southward to Key West. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

2 p.m. update | Ian forecast to strengthen rapidly tonight

Forecasters said significant wind and storm surge impacts were expected in western Cuba from Tropical Storm Ian, which was expected to begin rapidly intensifying Sunday night and early Monday, eventually reaching major hurricane strength of a Category 3 or above with sustained winds above 111 mph. A turn toward the northwest is expected this evening, with a north-northwestern motion on Monday and more northward on Tuesday with a slightly slower forward speed, the National Hurricane Center said.

Ian was expected to move near or over western Cuba Monday night and early Tuesday and enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

Preparing for Ian: Sarasota, Manatee county brace for potential Hurricane Ian

Major hurricane predicted: Tropical Storm Ian threatens Florida's west coast; forecast to become hurricane by Sunday

The latest on Tropical Storm Ian:

  • Location: About 265 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman; 540 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba

  • Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph

  • Present movement: WNW at 12 mph

  • Central pressure: 1001 MB

The hurricane center is expected to issue an updated track at 5 p.m.

12:15 p.m. update | Gov. Ron DeSantis says storm could affect many parts of state

At a news conference Sunday morning, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged all Floridians to continue watching Ian closely.

"It's really important to stress the uncertainty that still exists," Gov. Ron DeSantis said in Tallahassee.

"Don't think that if you're not in that eye that somehow you don't have to make preparations," DeSantis said Sunday. "The last thing we want to see is to have it head east quickly and folks are not prepared."

As of noon Sunday, there were no watches, warnings or evacuations ordered in the state. DeSantis said his emergency managers are in touch with local officials who will make the call on evacuations in their areas.

Learn more about the models: With a possible Cat 4 Hurricane Ian incoming, model split keeps Florida guessing | WeatherTiger

With Hurricane Irma in 2017, another storm that was difficult to forecast, DeSantis said "there was an over-evacuation. When we put people on the road, that's not cost free. There's traffic, there's fatalities on the road, so you want to be very careful about doing that.

"At the same time," he said, "if you have vulnerable populations in like a Pinellas County where you have mobile homes, senior facilities, you want to make sure they're getting to safety."

In Sarasota, Ed McCrane, Sarasota County’s emergency management chief, said in a Sunday morning video update that the storm’s timing has slowed down “a little bit,” which has given the county more time to prepare.

“We’re ready to do it,” he said. “We’re ready to do whatever we need to do to respond to this.”

11 a.m. update I Effects on Sarasota-Bradenton still uncertain; Hurricane Ian expected to rapidly intensify

The National Hurricane Center made no significant change to the track of future Hurricane Ian at the 11 a.m. advisory, but continues to warn residents in west-central Florida that the forecast track is uncertain after the next 48 hours. Major hurricane models remain in disagreement, with some taking the storm west into the Panhandle and others bringing it to the west coast near Sarasota and Bradenton.

The National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. Sunday forecast track
The National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. Sunday forecast track

Forecasters continue to warn that Ian, currently a tropical storm, is likely to undergo rapid intensification during the next two to three days. It is currently forecast to be a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico with winds reaching 130 mph.

A storm of that magnitude will have effects on areas well distant from where the center makes landfall.

"The intensity guidance remains very aggressive with strengthening Ian, and the NHC forecast reflects this potential," the center said in its latest advisory

The latest on Tropical Storm Ian:

  • Location: About 300 mile south-southeast of Grand Cayman

  • Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph

  • Present movement: WNW at 14 mph

  • Central pressure: 1001 MB

A turn to the northwest is expected later Sunday, followed by a north-northwestward motion on Monday, and a turn to the north on Tuesday, the NHC said. Along the forecast track, Ian is expected to pass over the western tip of Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico before moving north toward the western or northwestern U.S. Gulf Coast.

On the forecast track, the center of Ian is forecast to pass well southwest of Jamaica today, and pass near or west of the Cayman Islands early Monday.

Much of Florida's Gulf Coast remains in Ian's "cone of uncertainty," with a hurricane possibly making landfall between Fort Myers and the Panhandle next week. Residents in Florida are urged to keep an eye on this storm and have hurricane plans in place.

Ed McCrane, Sarasota County’s emergency management chief, said in a Sunday morning video update that the storm’s timing has slowed down “a little bit,” which has given the county more time to prepare.

“We’re ready to do it,” he said. “We’re ready to do whatever we need to do to respond to this.”

Beth Owen-Cipielewski, partner with Siesta Key Oyster Bar, said her business has a “complete game plan” for hurricanes. One part of that plan is to stop ordering new food.

Siesta Key Oyster Bar serves fresh seafood, so the fish would go bad if the business were to close for a few days. The restaurant has thus reduced the amount of food it orders.

“The only thing we ordered today was oysters, because we go through about 6,000 oysters a day right now, and there was no way we could, you know, tell our customers we don’t have oysters,” she said, with a chuckle.

Owen-Cipielewski said they are also in the process of finding an indoor space for the restaurant’s tables, chairs and outdoor equipment as the storm gets closer.

Tom Kouvatsos, co-owner of Village Café on Siesta Key, said that sandbags have been delivered to his restaurant. If a storm is imminent, he and his staff will bring the café's outdoor tables and chairs inside.

He said he isn’t worried about Tropical Storm Ian yet because “it’s too far away.” He is keeping track of the storm’s path and will make a decision Monday afternoon about the restaurant’s next steps.

“We’ve been doing this for 25 years,” he said. “We kind of have a little bit of a routine if and when we need to bring things outside from inside and whatnot.”

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Tropical Storm Ian: Find all of our latest coverage of the storm

Watching Tropical Storm Ian

Tropical Storm Ian was expected to strengthen rapidly as it moves west-northwest over the western Caribbean Sea Sunday and Monday. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center expect Ian to become a hurricane Sunday night or early Monday, and a major hurricane by early Tuesday. A major hurricane is a storm of category 3 or higher, with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

A turn to the northwest is expected later Sunday, followed by a turn to the north-northwest on Monday, and a turn to the north on Tuesday, the NHC said. Along the forecast track, Ian is expected to pass over the western tip of Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico before moving north toward the western or northwestern U.S. Gulf Coast.

Here are updates for the Sarasota-Manatee area.

10:25 a.m. I Will future Hurricane Ian affect travel from Sarasota Bradenton Airport?

Rick Piccolo, the president and CEO of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, advised flyers to check frequently with their airline for updates on their flights and to keep track of the storm.

He said airlines will make their own decisions about when they want to stop serving the airport. Piccolo added that if wind speeds reach 35 to 40 knots, his team would close the airport and private aircraft couldn’t land there.

Too close for comfort: Tropical Storm Ian: Weather Channel announces Jim Cantore's location

On Monday, airport staff will meet with representatives of the airlines and airport tenants to discuss SRQ’s hurricane plan.

9:30 a.m. I Emergency declarations from state, federal officials

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state of Florida late Saturday, making federal emergency aid available in advance of Tropical Storm Ian. The action authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in 24 counties, including Sarasota and Manatee. Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded his state of emergency declaration to include all 67 of Florida's counties.

DeSantis has scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee that will include the Florida Department of Emergency Management and FEMA officials to discuss the storm.

9:15 a.m. I Where can I get sandbags in Sarasota-Manatee?

Manatee County previously opened self-serve sandbag filling at these locations:

  • Bennett Park, 400 Cypress Creek Blvd, Bradenton

  • Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto

  • Myakka Community Center, 10060 Wauchula Road, Myakka City

  • JUST ADDED: Buffalo Creek Park, 7550 69th St E, Palmetto

Manatee County will also have three locations for picking up pre-made sandbags:

  • Manatee Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach (Northwest Parking lot)

  • Bayfront Park, 310 North Bay Blvd. Anna Maria (North end by the recycling center)

  • Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach (South Bayside near the guardrail)

Starting Sunday, the county is adding full-service sandbag distribution at:

  • G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W, Bradenton

  • Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto

All locations will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The City of Venice Public Works Department will have sandbags available for residents beginning today, Sunday, Sept. 25, from noon to 6 p.m. at Wellfield Park off Pinebrook Road.

These are self-filling stations. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per household while supplies last and shovels will be provided. Residents are encouraged to bring their own bags in case the city runs out, as well as their own shovels to expedite the process.

Sarasota County will also begin sandbag operations today, Sunday, Sept. 25 from noon to 6 p.m. at three locations.

  • Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th Street, Sarasota.

  • Twin Lakes Park,  6700 Clark Road, Sarasota.

  • South County Fleet, 4571 SR 776/Englewood Road, Venice. Note: When accessing the South County Fleet location, please enter from 4000 South Tamiami Trail (R.L. Anderson) and follow the signs.

Shovels and bags will be available on-site, limit 10 sandbags per vehicle.

Sarasota's sandbag operations are also planned for Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The City of North Port will have a self-serve sandbag facility at the athletic fields behind the George Mullen Activity Center, 1602 Kramer Way. It opens at noon and bags, sand and shovels will be provided.

The Town of Longboat Key is planning to staff a sand and bag station at Broadway Beach Access on Sunday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and again on Monday beginning at 8 a.m.

6 a.m. I Tropical Storm Ian's path remains uncertain; predicted to reach 140 mph in the Gulf

The National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory keeps Tropical Storm Ian on a more western track farther from the Sarasota-Bradenton area. However, forecasters caution that their two most reliable models, the European and the GFS, are still showing very different paths for the storm.

The European model has consistently shown a more easterly track for Ian, and its most recent run showed a direct impact in west central Florida, which would have major effects in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The GFS model takes the storm on a more westerly track into the Panhandle.

"It cannot be overstated that significant uncertainty remains in Ian's long-range prediction," the hurricane center said in its 5 a.m. discussion. The hurricane center said it hopes that additional data now being collected around the storm now could reduce some of the spread in the models.

How strong will Hurricane Ian be?

The National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory continues a track for Tropical Storm Ian west of the Sarasota-Bradenton area but uncertainty remains.
The National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory continues a track for Tropical Storm Ian west of the Sarasota-Bradenton area but uncertainty remains.

More consistent are predictions of rapid intensification of the storm, starting later Sunday. The hurricane center forecast calls for Ian to be a major hurricane when it nears western Cuba in about 48 hours.

"Once the circulation become more vertically coherent, low vertical wind shear conditions and high ocean heat content are expected to allow for rapid intensification while Ian moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea," the hurricane center said.

Its 5 a.m. advisory called for Ian to reach Category 4 strength with winds of 140 mph by early Wednesday in the Gulf of Mexico. Under the current forecast, the hurricane could encounter some wind shear in the northern Gulf  before making landfall early Friday

Stay up to date on the storm: Download the updated Herald-Tribune app

Hurricane Shelters: Where are Sarasota-Manatee hurricane shelters? When should I go?

When will Hurricane Ian be close to Sarasota-Bradenton?

No storm watches or warnings are in effect in Florida as of Sunday morning. Hurricane warnings have been posted for Grand Cayman and a hurricane watch is in effect for parts of Cuba. A Tropical Storm watch is in effect in other parts of Cuba and the Cayman islands.

Hurricane Guide: What do you need to know before a big storm?

The current NHC track would have the storm moving north of Cuba Tuesday afternoon and entering the Gulf. Its closest approach to our area currently is forecast to be late Wednesday or early Thursday. Effects of a large, major storm can be felt many miles from the center, and a small change in course to the east and the west coast of Florida could intensify the storms effects.

This story will be updated.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Tropical Storm Ian Live Updates: Sarasota-Manatee schools will be open on Monday