CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Ian strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane early Tuesday morning and continues to intensify as it moves through Western Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Though the Lowcountry coast may not see direct impacts from the storm, Ian has rapidly strengthened overnight and is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane just miles off the Florida coast.

Latest trackings from NHC show landfall near Tampa by Thursday morning. Storm Team 2 Meterologist Josh Marthers said the Lowcountry faces increased flooding concerns along the coastline through Friday.

Through the week, Ian is expected to slowly weaken and expand as it gradually turns towards the northeast.

We will see increased clouds Wednesday followed by spouts of heavy rain between Thursday and Friday, lasting through Saturday.

In addition to the flooding, the Lowcountry faces gusty winds and isolated tornadoes as Ian moves closer to us.

Storm Team 2 is tracking two scenarios for Lowcountry impacts from Hurricane Ian in a mid-to-late week timeframe:

Scenario one

Scenario one tracks more inland, with higher chances of flooding rain and coastal flooding. We may also see gusty winds upwards to 40 MPH and tornadoes, Marthers said. “This is a very typical landfilling Gulf Coast scenario.”

Scenario two

Scenario two has Ian moving farther towards the east and not so quick to turn north, merging near the area of Jacksonville, and staying rather close to the South Carolina-Georgia coast. This scenario decreases the risk of tornadoes but increases the risk of higher winds through the end of the week.

Marthers said there is not much of a difference between the two scenarios outside of “subtle changes” – wind speed in particular.

For tips and essential information on how to plan for the storm, download the Storm Team 2 Hurricane Ready Guide. Stay updated on the latest weather and breaking news with the News 2 and Storm Team 2 apps.