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Hurricane Ian is stronger than expected according to Florida meteorologists

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - "This is ridiculous. It was not supposed to be this strong."

Meteorology students at Florida State University are paying close attention to Hurricane Ian.

They say last minute eye wall intensification helped it to become a strong category four monster.

This will allow it to bring historic storm surge.

Robert Szot, a Florida State University Student Meteorologist, says, "The shape of the coastline down there is particularly prevalent to bad storm surge. So the way the coast is sloped as sort of like I would say, more gradual slope, which allows that storm surge to accumulate more unlike other coastlines."

Szot worked alongside other FSU student meteorologists on Wednesday on their own show called FSU Weather.

They tracked the storm for five hours on a live stream discussing all the devastating effects.

Some compare this storm to hurricaneCharley which hit southwest Florida back in 2004 with a similar track and intensity.

Ian is much larger and stronger.

Florida State Meteorology Graduate Student, Parker Beasley, says, "Hurricane Charlie had a small wind field. It was like a pinhole. Five miles wide in diameter. And this storm is 20 to 25 miles in diameter for the eye. So what that means is that the wind field is not only expanded, but because we had the eyewall replacement cycle last night, the wind field has strengthened."

Florida State University is located in Tallahassee on the Panhandle away from the storm.

Yet, many students hold strong ties and have families back home on the peninsula.

Evan's good friend Chandler has friends that stayed.

"This morning I told that like my mom to tell them to inflate any inflatables, that they have and throw a lot of their emergency supplies into the attic and grab like anything that they can use to break open the roof.  They're in the area where it's beyond six feet of storm surge is possible, so if that ends up confirming, they'll probably be on the roofs later on tonight," Chandler Pruett said.

The road to recovery starts now and it will not be short.

Last year, hurricane Ida hit Evan's parent's house in New Orleans. A little over a year later, his parents just said Tuesday the house is finally back in shape.

Despite the big challenge, Pruett and Szot both say they will help out in the next few days.

"I myself am planning on going with the Cajun Navy. They are going to converge somewhere in southwest Florida in a day or two. And my plan is to go down there with them. And the short term, at least, recovery effort is search and rescue for both animals and people."

"It's so hard to see something this devastating. It happened so close to you and not feel impacted by it."

Article Topic Follows: Idaho
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Evan Thomason

Evan is the weekend meteorologist and reporter.


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