TUESDAY 8:00 PM UPDATE - Hurricane Ian Predicted to Strike Lake Wales
Category Three Cyclone Growing Stronger. Predicted to Pass Directly Over Polk County
Last updated 9/28/2022 at 7:18am
TUESDAY 8:00 PM UPDATE: Hurricane Ian has continued to deepen as it moves toward Florida and model trends continue to shift the track toward the east, bringing the center of circulation over Polk County. Lake Wales is expected to be exposed to winds of up to 100 MPH sustained, with higher gusts. There is also an enhanced chance of tornados in this area.
For the latest information on expected impacts to the Lake Wales area, please RETURN TO HOME PAGE
The 5:00 Advisory from the National Hurricane Center reported that there "has been some model convergence this afternoon showing Ian remaining stronger and vertically deeper through landfall. This solution results in a faster track, again adjusted to the southeast, and the new forecast is moved in that direction."
Along with a more north-easterly bend, the storm is now expected to move faster, bringing worsening conditions sooner. The current movement is ten degrees, or just east of due north. The new forecast track brings the center through Southeast Polk.
If the storm passes just west of Lake Wales, expect very strong southerly winds. If current trends continue, however, it is possible that the track could bend further, with the center of circulation passing east of Lake Wales, which would result in very strong southeast winds, backing to northeast as the center passes. The National Hurricane Center statement says that "A turn toward the north-northeast with a reduction in forward speed is forecast tonight and Wednesday." If that occurs the Lake Wales area may yet avoid the worst of the impacts.
Currently centered just north of Cuba, Ian has regained wind speeds of 120 MPH after crossing that island. Further intensification is expected during the next 24 hours. The storm is now a Category Three, and is projected to reach Category Four status today. Projections from the NHC depict that Ian will remain a Major Hurricane as it moves over the west central coast of Florida.
Ian is now on a northerly course and is expected to begin a turn toward the North North-East toward west Central Florida and the Lake Wales area. Current radar images indicate that a slight easterly component to its movement may have already begun.
The official forecast track now brings the center of the storm ashore as a Major Hurricane along the coast of Sarasota and Manatee Counties. That course would bring the powerful winds of the eyewall over Polk County as it moves inland. Slight deviations in that course can bring significant changes in impacts. Slow and erratic movement is also likely according to some models.
The NHC reports that an expanding wind field is also an element increasing the threat to east Polk County. Ian's eye is 20 to 25 miles in diameter. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km). That puts the Lake Wales area under the threat of hurricane-force winds late Wednesday through Thursday as the storm lingers over the area. Widespread six to ten inches of rain and localized totals of up to 15 inches are expected here, leading to flooding of low-lying areas.
Residents are encouraged to continue preparations and to monitor the progress of the storm, and are reminded to remove and store small objects, including potted plants and garden lights, which may become airborne projectiles..
Among the local threats is the possibility of torrential rain, with our area given at least a 40% chance of flash flooding. Sandbag materials are available at Lake Wales Park near the athletic fields and Crystal Avenue. A single Hurricane shelter has been prepared to serve southeast Polk County, located at Spook Hill Elementary but it is not scheduled to open Tuesday, according to county officials.
For a complete list of shelters open in Polk County, click here.
LakeWalesNews.net will continue to update this story every three hours with the latest information available.
Lake Wales area residents and Floridians in general are beginning preparations for the likely impact of a Hurricane beginning in less than four days. The official forecast shows the storm reaching the Tampa Bay area by 2:00 Wednesday, or potentially moving on to the panhandle of the state by 2:00 am Friday.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the cyclone remains over warm 29-30 C waters. Hurricanes are fed and strengthened by warm waters. water temperatures in the Atlantic basin and Gulf of Mexico are generally much warmer than historic norms.
LakeWalesNerws.net will closely monitor the approach of the cyclone and will continue to publish frequent updates with specific information for the local area. Please return to our news section to take advantage as advisories are released.
Hurricane Safety Checklists from the American Red Cross
The most important thing you can do as Hurricane season approaches is to get yourself, your family and your home prepared.
By starting early, you'll avoid the rush at home supply stores, grocery stores and other venues typically crowded and often chaotic when Hurricane watches and warnings are issued.
You should stock six basics for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Keep the items you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container. Possible containers include a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack, or a duffle bag.
Make your preparations easier by downloading the checklists included with each category and use them as you shop and store your supplies.
Food and Water
• Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as paper milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
• Store one gallon of water per person per day.
• Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
• If your home is supplied by a private well, you should fill bathtubs or other containers with water for use in flushing toilets or washing dishes.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
• Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
• Canned juices
• Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
• High energy foods
• Food for infants
• Comfort/stress foods
First Aid and Non-Prescription Drugs
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.
• (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
• (1) 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing.
• (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
• (2) triangular bandages.
• (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
• (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
• (1) roll 3″ cohesive bandage.
• (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• (6) antiseptic wipes.
• (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
• Adhesive tape, 2″ width.
• Anti-bacterial ointment.
• Cold pack.
• Scissors (small, personal).
• CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.
• Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
• Anti-diarrhea medication
• Antacid (for stomach upset)
• Activated charcoal (use if advised by the American Association of Poison Control Centers)
Tools and Supplies
• Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
• Emergency preparedness manual
• Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Cash and/or change
• Non-electric can opener, utility knife
• Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
• Tube tent
• Lighter or matches in a waterproof container
• Aluminum foil
• Plastic storage containers
• Signal flare
• Paper, pencil
• Needles, thread
• Medicine dropper
• Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
• Plastic sheeting
• List of local shelters
Sanitation, Clothing and Bedding
• Hand sanitizer
• Disinfectant wipes
• Cloth face masks (two per person)
• Toilet paper, towelettes
• Soap, liquid detergent
• Feminine supplies
• Personal hygiene items
• Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
• Plastic bucket with tight lid
• Household chlorine bleach
Clothing and Bedding
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
• Sturdy shoes or work boots
• Rain gear
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Hat and gloves
Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
• Powdered milk
• Heart and high blood pressure medication
• Prescription drugs
• Denture needs
• Contact lenses and supplies
• Extra eye glasses
• Board games and other games that don't require batteries or electricity, books for adult readers and for children.
In the interest of protecting pets, the Humane Society of the United States offers these tips for inclusion in your family disaster plan:
• Do not leave your pets behind.
• Securely fasten a current identification tag to your pet's collar and carry a photograph of your pet. It's important to include the phone number of a friend or family member on the tag so anyone who may find your pet is able to reach someone who knows you.
• Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes or harnesses.
• Call hotels in a safe/host location and ask if you can bring your pets. Ask the manager if a no-pet policy can be lifted during the disaster. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets.
• Call friends, family members, veterinarians or boarding kennels in a safe/host location to arrange foster care if you and your pets cannot stay together.
• Pack a week's supply of food, water and other provisions, such as medication or cat litter.
• Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. Rescue officials may not allow you to take your pets if you need to be rescued.
• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (veterinarian, local animal control, animal shelters, Red Cross, etc.).
Possessions and Documents
[download the possessions and documents checklist]
• Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
• Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
• Passports, social security cards, immunization records
• Bank account numbers
• Credit card account numbers and companies
• Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
• Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
• Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
• Keep items in airtight plastic bags.
• Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
• Replace your stored food every six months.
• Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
• Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
Source/Reference: American Red Cross