Hurricane Ian continues to gain strength as powerful Category 3 storm

Hurricane Ian made its landfall on Cuba as a category 3 storm Tuesday morning as it continues on its path toward the Florida west coast.

Ian is currently a major hurricane packing 120-mph winds and is likely to strengthen to a Category 4 storm as it moves through the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and catastrophic winds and flooding to the Florida peninsula.

Severe Weather Team 2 is tracking Hurricane Ian throughout the day and night, on Channel 2 Action News.

Hurricane watches and warnings have been issued along the Florida west and east coasts.

In coastal Georgia, a Tropical Storm Warning on the U.S. east coast has been extended north to include Glynn and Camden counties. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Chatham and McIntosh counties.

Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a State of Emergency in Georgia starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday ahead of the storm.

[INTERACTIVE: StormTracker 2HD Radar]

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan says there is still significant uncertainty when it comes to impacts in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

“The farther south it moves over Florida the less likely we are to see significant impacts here from the storm.”

For Florida, it is still unclear where Ian will make landfall. Monahan says a track over or north of Tampa is a worst-case scenario for the city. If Ian moves farther south, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers will see more significant impacts.

“A difference in track by 25-50 miles will make a huge difference in where worst impacts are on FL’s west coast,” Monahan says.

Here’s what to expect as Ian makes it way through the gulf.

  • Landfall is expected Wednesday afternoon/evening with the worst of the weather moving away from Florida early Friday.
  • Forecast brings it as a tropical depression over the eastern half of Georgia late Friday into Saturday.
  • Widespread 1-4″ rainfall totals are possible in north Georgia
  • 30-40+ mph wind gusts are possible late Friday through early Sunday

[UPLOAD PHOTOS: Share your weather photos with us here]