Hurricane Ian Enters the Gulf of Mexico – Headed Toward the West Coast of Florida

Hurricane Ian Enters the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Ian Enters the Gulf of Mexico, September 27, 2022.

After making landfall in Cuba, the category 3 storm entered the Gulf of Mexico and appeared headed toward the west coast of Florida.

On September 27, 2022, after making landfall in western Cuba, Hurricane Ian entered the Gulf of Mexico as a category-3 storm with a trajectory aimed at Florida.

NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image (above)  of Hurricane Ian at about noon local time (16:00 Universal Time) on September 27, 2022, using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). This was just hours after it moved off the northwest coast of Cuba. Winds around this time measured around 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour—slightly weakened after passing over the island, but remaining a potent category-3 hurricane.

Though tropical cyclones are atmospheric phenomena, much of their fearsome power comes from the ocean. The seas are abundant sources of moisture to feed growing storm clouds. Just as critically, they are vast repositories of thermal energy that can move from the sea to the sky. As Hurricane Ian lashed western Cuba and headed for the west coast of Florida on September 27, 2022, it moved over an abundant fuel source in the Gulf of Mexico. While sea surface temperatures are just one of the factors influencing hurricanes, they are a fair predictor of the readiness of the ocean to sustain them.

Weather forecasters noted that warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico and low wind shear could help the hurricane regain strength over the next day before making landfall along the west coast of Florida.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.

Kathryn Hansen, NASA Earth Observatory

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