Hurricane Ian live updates and latest path: Expected to be Category 3 by Monday night

HAVANA (WABC) — Hurricane Ian, the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic season, is expected to rapidly intensify on Monday.

Ian Latest Path

Ian is already getting stronger and is forecast to move quickly over Cuba’s western Pinar del Rio province on Monday.

Then it will turn northward and slow down over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, conditions ripe for brewing the strongest hurricanes.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa. Forecasters have issued a hurricane watch for the Tampa Bay area, predicting a storm surge of up to 8 feet and 15 inches of rain in places.

How Ian may impact the New York City and Tri-State area

Although the exact track is still uncertain, the remnants of Ian could head up to the northeast by the weekend into early next week.

Check here for the latest forecast from AccuWeather.

Follow meteorologist Lee Goldberg, Sam Champion, Brittany Bell, Jeff Smith, and Dani Beckstrom on Eyewitness News, here and on social media for continuing updates.

Ian Live Updates

Monday, September 26

Preparations in Cuba

Authorities in Cuba suspended classes in Pinar del Rio province and planned evacuations Monday as Ian gained strength on approach to Grand Cayman and the Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. Cuba also was shutting down its train system ahead of the worst weather.

“Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane force winds, also life threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall,” U.S. National Hurricane Center senior specialist Daniel Brown told The Associated Press early Monday.

At 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, Ian was moving northwest at 14 mph (22 kph), about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west-southwest of Grand Cayman, sustaining top winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

State of Emergency in Florida

Florida residents were getting ready, lining up for hours in Tampa to collect bags of sand and clearing store shelves of bottled water.

A hurricane watch was issued for Florida’s central western coast including the Tampa Bay area, where Hillsborough County suspended classes through Thursday to prepare schools to serve as shelters for evacuees. Additional watches for more northern areas along the peninsula’s west coast may be issued, Brown said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency throughout Florida and urged residents to prepare for the storm to lash large swaths of the state with heavy rains, high winds and rising seas.

“We’re going to keep monitoring the track of this storm. But it really is important to stress the degree of uncertainty that still exists,” DeSantis said at a news conference Sunday, cautioning that “even if you’re not necessarily right in the eye of the path of the storm, there’s going to be pretty broad impacts throughout the state.”

NASA rolling Artemis rocket back off launch pad

NASA said it will roll the Artemis I rocket off the launch pad and back to the vehicle assembly building on Monday night due to the storm.

“Managers met Monday morning and made the decision based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian, after additional data gathered overnight did not show improving expected conditions for the Kennedy Space Center area,” NASA said in a statement. “The decision allows time for employees to address the needs of their families and protect the integrated rocket and spacecraft system.”

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White House closely monitoring Ian

The White House is “closely monitoring” the hurricane, a White House official told ABC News.

President Joe Biden approved Florida’s emergency assistance request this weekend “as soon as he received it,” the official said.

“He also directed his team to surge Federal assistance to the region well before landfall,” the official said. “FEMA has already deployed staff there and pre-positioned food, water, and generators.”

Biden was scheduled to travel to Florida this week but that trip has been postponed due to the storm.

Information from the National Hurricane Center, ABC News and the Associated Press

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