While Hurricane Ian drenches Southwest Florida in massive amounts of rain, the state's northwest is expected to experience drought conditions and wildfire warnings have already been issued, according to a report from Newsweek.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, "Locally critical fire weather conditions are expected across far southwest Georgia, southern Alabama, the western Florida Panhandle, southern Mississippi, and south Louisiana," the outlet further reported.
Hurricane Ian, which made landfall on Florida's southwest coast on Wednesday at 3:05 pm ET, inflicted "catastrophic" destruction and floods with its strong winds and downpours. Prior to making landfall, the category 4 storm had peak wind speeds of 155 mph. Although it has already been reduced to a tropical storm, the southeast is still seeing its effects.
In Northeast Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, deadly storm surges are predicted, and Virginia will likely receive a lot of rain, Newsweek said.
Hurricane Ian has also raised additional concerns. Following one of the hottest summers on record, the counterclockwise spin of the hurricane has delivered northerly winds and low humidity to much of the region's already parched woods.
According to a statement by Florida Forest Service, "The combination of the strong surface high to the north and the strong pressure gradient around Hurricane Ian will drive moderately strong northerly winds across much of the Southeast."
"With these areas remaining dry, fuels are receptive to fire spread," they further said.
According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, parts of Northeast Florida, particularly close to the Alabama border, are perilously close to the threshold for severe drought, as per a scale used to quantify how dry the soil is.
As a result of the tremendous rains that followed the storm, measurements from the southern part of Florida have fallen into the lowest category of the drought index. Newsweek further said that a significant portion of the peninsula was hammered with well over 12 inches of water in less than 24 hours, and more rain is predicted over the next few days.