COLUMBIA, S.C. — The forecast track of Tropical Storm Ian continues to shift westward but isn't affecting the overall main idea: this storm could be a potential major threat to the United States next week.
As of late Saturday night, Ian has winds of 50 miles an hour and is moving west at 13 miles an hour.
Currently, the cone of uncertainty includes parts of Florida, but where that storm is projected to strike keeps changing with each model run. Early Friday, the models were showing a possibility of near Naples; by late Friday, Tampa. Now, the path is closer to Cedar Key or Steinhatchee.
What does that mean? The forecast uncertainty remains high, with the National Hurricane Center remarking that it's "higher than usual so we'll have to continue to monitor the storm over the next several days as that projected path shifts.
You can see that more clearly in the so called 'spaghetti plots,' where each strand is a different computer model's projection of where the storm can go. Right now about half of them are going toward the western Florida panhandle and half going into the Florida Gulf coast north of Tamps. The National Hurricane Center's model essentially splits down the middle between those two tracks.
It may take a few more days for those models to agree.
Several hurricane hunter aircraft were scheduled to fly into Ian over the weekend, which should provide more data.
As for any potential effects in South Carolina, that's still far too early to say.
Meanwhile, A hurricane watch is in in effect for the Cayman Islands while a tropical storm watch is in effect for Jamaica.
The system is expected to pass over the western portion of Cuba by Tuesday, although that could change.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting it to be a major hurricane (Category 3 or greater at this point.
The storm was originally going to be called Hermine, but a system off the coast of Africa became a tropical storm first. This storm will become Ian at some point over the weekend.