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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Ian became a hurricane early Monday morning and is quickly starting to show signs of strengthening and that will continue throughout the day. By Tomorrow morning it will be on the north side of Cuba in the almost hot tub-like waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

That will allow for rapid intensification of the storm and it is expected it could jump to Category 4 status by Tuesday night. 

The storm will then move northeast on the west coast of Florida.  Today’s models are indicating that it will slow down and probably make landfall to the north of Tampa.  However, the storm is expected to slow to a crawl from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon off the west coast of Florida. This could lead to a significant period of winds and storm surges for that area, which is already under a Hurricane Warning.  

As the system slows down, it will be blocked by the large fair-weather system that is expected to make local weather mild and pleasant for the next few days.  It is expected the meeting of these systems will weaken the hurricane into a large rainmaker for the weekend until possibly next Monday. 

This is the most significant amount of rain the commonwealth has seen in quite some time, and it comes at a much-needed time, as many locales are suffering from drought.