The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Ian regains hurricane strength and is poised to strike South Carolina

Areas from northern Florida all the way up through New York City could see impacts from Ian, which has resumed strengthening

Satellite view of Tropical Storm Ian, midday Thursday. (NOAA)
8 min

After generating a disastrous ocean surge, destructive winds and devastating flooding in Florida, Ian still has one more act. The National Hurricane Center’s latest forecast calls for Ian, again a hurricane, to make a second U.S. landfall near Charleston, S.C., on Friday.

Hurricane warnings have been posted for the entire South Carolina coast, while tropical storm warnings are in effect from just north of West Palm Beach, Fla., all the way to Duck, N.C.

Hurricane Ian live updates: Ian has brought ‘historic’ damage to Florida, DeSantis says; 2.6M lose power in the state

Although Ian weakened from a strong Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds at landfall on Wednesday to a tropical storm by Thursday morning, it resumed strengthening over the Atlantic Ocean just east of Florida in the afternoon and recaptured hurricane status at 5 p.m.

Here is a look at the updated forecast for several parts of the country, from northern Florida to as far north as New York City.

Northern Florida

Cities in northern Florida are currently facing the wrath of Ian, which is tracking just to the east of Cape Canaveral. Overnight, nearly 17 inches of rain fell near Orlando and 28 inches in New Smyrna Beach, with widespread totals of more than a foot.

NASA’s moon launch is dealt another blow, as Ian causes weeks-long delay

The worst of Ian’s rainfall was moving offshore Thursday evening, although some lingering heavy rain continued to drench the Space Coast. The rain should pull away overnight.

Jacksonville remains under a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning, with tropical storm conditions expected to last through into the evening — and the storm surge threat may last longer. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph remain possible, and a “life-threatening” storm surge of 4 to 6 feet may occur in surge-prone areas.

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, residents of North Port, Fla., on Sept. 29 used small boats and high-clearance cars to evacuate their flooded neighborhood. (Video: Rich Matthews, Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)


All of coastal Georgia remains under storm surge warnings, with impacts from Ian expected to last into Friday night. As of 11 a.m., hurricane warnings have now been hoisted for all of coastal Georgia.

Regardless of Ian’s exact strength, a significant portion of the state will see impacts from the storm — including spots away from the coast. Tropical storm watches are up as far inland as Statesboro, and a wind advisory has been issued for much of the state, including Atlanta, with sustained wind of 20 to 25 mph possible and gusts up to 35 mph.

In locations within the tropical storm watch, the Weather Service warns that while winds are forecast to be sustained under tropical storm strength, uncertainty in the forecast means it is possible winds could climb from 39 to 57 mph, enough to cause some wind damage. In these spots, 2 to 4 inches of rain is also forecast, with locally higher amounts possible, which is enough to cause significant flooding.

Tropical storm warnings are now in effect as far inland as Augusta as well.

Along the immediate coastline, including Savannah and Tybee Island, which is under hurricane watch, a peak storm surge of 4 to 6 feet remains possible through Saturday morning. Heavy rainfall is also possible on the immediate coast and just inland, leading to the issuance of a flood watch for cities including Savannah, with rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches possible, with locally higher amounts.

Coastal residents should be prepared for winds that could climb to Category 1 strength, though the best forecast from the Hurricane Center is for sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts up 70 mph.

South Carolina

Coastal South Carolina is the most likely spot for Ian’s second U.S. landfall, with the current forecast from the Hurricane Center forecast taking the storm inland near Seabrook Island, which is just south of Charleston, around midday Friday.

In addition to the hurricane warning, storm surge warnings and flood watches are in effect as well.

Near hurricane-force winds are expected to begin along the South Carolina coastline on Friday morning, with sustained winds of 55 to 70 mph and gusts up to 90 mph forecast around Charleston. There remains enough uncertainty in the forecast that hurricane-force wind speeds between 75 to 100 mph are possible, as it is not out of the question that Ian could strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane as it moves over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.

Flooding, both from a dangerous storm surge and heavy rainfall, is also likely in and around Charleston. A “life-threatening” storm surge of 4 to 7 feet is possible within surge-prone areas, and a flood watch has been posted with 4 to 8 inches of rain likely, with localized higher amounts. There is an isolated risk of a tornado or two, as well.

Further north toward Myrtle Beach, impacts from Ian are expected to be lesser, but still notable. Myrtle Beach is also under a hurricane warning, though the forecast calls for just 40 to 50 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 80 mph. Uncertainty in Ian’s strength and exact position, though, means beachgoers and local residents should prepare for winds that could climb to low-end Category 1 strength.

Locals should also plan for a dangerous storm surge of 3 to 5 feet in surge-prone areas, in addition to 3 to 6 inches or more of rain.

Tropical storm warnings have also been posted for nearly all of the state of South Carolina, including the cities of Columbia and Camden, but not as far west as Greenwood or Spartanburg.

In Columbia, sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 60 mph are forecast, though the National Weather Service says that residents should plan for the potential of strong tropical-storm-force winds that could cause significant impacts in the region, as well as 3 to 6 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts possible.

North Carolina

The large wind field of Ian as well as the storm’s emergence and possible strengthening over the Atlantic means that even coastal and interior North Carolina could see tropical storm conditions from the storm.

Tropical storm warnings and storm surge watches are up as far north as Nags Head, which the National Weather Service says could see sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is also possible starting Friday, as well as 4 to 8 or inches of rain and isolated tornadoes.

Further south toward the beach town of Southport, sustained winds could climb as high as 35 to 45 mph with hurricane-force gusts. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is possible, and strong breaking waves in Southport and elsewhere across the Outer Banks could cause damage to beachside homes, with major beach erosion expected.

Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for areas far inland, including out to the cities of Charlotte, Hickory, Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham. In these spots, sustained tropical-storm-force winds are possible, though the most substantial threat comes from a forecast 4 to 6 inches of rain, which is likely to start Friday and last into the weekend, with the possibility of isolated higher amounts.

A flood watch has also been posted for these areas, with inland flooding of rivers, creeks and streams likely from Friday into at least Saturday morning.


Sustained tropical storm conditions are unlikely to make their way into the Mid-Atlantic states, but that does not mean that Ian will have no impact there.

The Tidewater region of Virginia is expected to see a widespread 4 to 6 inches of rain from Ian and its remnants, with limited coastal flooding possible in spots from Norfolk up through Williamsburg. High surf is also likely in Virginia Beach up into the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, with large breaking waves of 6 to 9 feet possible in the surf zone.

If Ian strengthens further, it is possible that coastal areas of Virginia could end up under tropical storm watches, though none are currently posted.

Further inland, Ian’s remnants are likely to bring a widespread 2 to 4 inches across much of Virginia from Friday into the weekend, with wet conditions possibly lingering through Tuesday if an additional low-pressure system pops off the Carolina coast as Ian departs.

Rainfall should extend further up the East Coast as well, with 2 to 4 inches possible into Salisbury, Md., and coastal parts of New Jersey. Rainfall triggered by Ian’s remnants is forecast to extend into Philadelphia and even New York City. It is unlikely to cause any serious flooding, though a marginal risk of excessive rainfall does extend that far north on Sunday.

Hurricane Ian’s remnants will douse parts of the Mid-Atlantic