Update: Hurricane Irma

posted by Denis Davis -

Irma continues her westerly shift.  

Forecasters predict one of the worst storms in history, Irma, to make landfall in southern Florida. 

According to Ed Piotrowski:

For our area, the news has been nothing but good over the last 24 hours. Now that we're less than two days from Irma's turn north, the models are more reliable and ALL continue to show it traversing the entire state of Florida. A track over that much land will weaken Irma quickly compared to much slower weakening if it stayed over water and was battling wind shear and dry air. The chances of that happening go down with every model run. In addition to moving north over land, an area of low pressure along the Gulf coast will actually pull Irma back to the northwest through Georgia keeping most of the big impacts well southwest of us. Irma is a very large storm and there will be impacts in our area. Here's what to expect Sunday night through Monday night. Conditions improve Tuesday morning.

WIND: Expect wind gusts in the 30s and 40s with an isolated gust near 50 mph over our southern counties. Wind of this magnitude typically doesn't produce more than isolated power outages and only knocks down some loose tree limbs or weak trees. We get stronger wind in thunderstorms. For reference, Matthew's winds gusted in the 60-70 mph range inland and near 75 mph at the coast.

RAIN: Bands of rain will rotate around Irma producing periods of heavy downpours. In some of the heavier bands, 2-4" of rain will be possible with isolated amounts near 5" not out of the question. The ground is saturated in many area so it's not out of the question we could see localized, minor flooding, but for most of the area that is unlikely. We are NOT expecting anything like what we had with Matthew lat year.

TORNADOES: Anytime you are on the right side of the storm, there is a small risk of tornadoes. They are usually isolated and brief, but still can cause damage.

COASTAL IMPACTS: Even though Irma will be far from us, some storm surge is likely. Most areas will see a 1-3 foot rise in water. That's 1-3 feet lower than what Matthew produced last year. We do have king tides and the wind will be stiff off the ocean so some coastal flooding is possible in the typical areas of Cherry Grove, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, & Pawleys Island around high tides Sunday and Monday.


BULLETIN Hurricane Irma Intermediate Advisory Number 38A NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL112017 200 PM EDT Fri Sep 08 2017...EYE OF HURRICANE IRMA MONITORED BY HURRICANE HUNTER PLANES AND CUBAN RADARS... ...HURRICANE CONDITIONS SPREADING WESTWARD OVER PORTIONS OF CUBA AND THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS...SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION ---------------------------------------------- LOCATION...22.0N 76.0W ABOUT 225 MI...365 KM E OF CAIBARIEN CUBA ABOUT 380 MI...610 KM SE OF MIAMI FLORIDA MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...155 MPH...250 KM/H PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...925 MB...27.31 INCHESWATCHES AND WARNINGS -------------------- CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:The Hurricane Warning for the Turks and Caicos Islands has been discontinued.SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for... * Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Venice * Florida KeysA Storm Surge Watch is in effect for... * North of Sebastian Inlet to Ponce InletA Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach * Florida Keys * Lake Okeechobee * Florida Bay * Southeastern Bahamas * Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara * Central Bahamas * Northwestern BahamasA Hurricane Watch is in effect for... * North of Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County Line * North of Bonita Beach to Anclote River * Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and MatanzasA Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las TunasA Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.  This is a life-threatening situation.  Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions.  Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.  Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.Interests elsewhere in Cuba, Florida, and the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Irma.For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK ------------------------------ At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located by a reconnaissance plane and Cuban radars near latitude 22.0 North, longitude 76.0 West. Irma has been moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), but the hurricane should resume a west-northwest motion later today.  A turn toward the northwest is expected by late Saturday.  On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas for the rest of today and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning.Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph (250 km/h) with higher gusts.  Irma is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are likely to continue during the next day or two, and Irma is expected to remain a powerful category 4 hurricane as it approaches Florida.Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km).The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force reconnaissance plane was 925 mb (27.31 inches).HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ---------------------- STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...SW Florida from Captiva to Cape Sable...6 to 12 ft Jupiter Inlet to Cape Sable including the Florida Keys...5 to 10 ft Ponce Inlet to Jupiter Inlet...3 to 6 ft Venice to Captiva...3 to 6 ftThe deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.  For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma.  Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.Turks and Caicos Islands...15 to 20 ft Southeastern and central Bahamas...15 to 20 ft Northwestern Bahamas...5 to 10 ft Northern coast of Haiti and the Gulf of Gonave...1 to 3 ft Northern coast of Cuba in the warning area...5 to 10 ftWIND:  Hurricane conditions are still occurring in portions of the southeastern Bahamas and these conditions will continue to spread westward over the central Bahamas later today.  Hurricane conditions are expected to continue within the hurricane warning area along the north coast of Cuba through Saturday. Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwestern Bahamas tonight and Saturday, and in portions of southern Florida and the Florida Keys Saturday night or early Sunday.Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area in Florida by Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Saturday.RAINFALL: Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Tuesday night:Dominican Republic and Haiti...additional 1 to 4 inches. Turks and Caicos...additional 2 to 4 inches. Southern Bahamas and northern Cuba...10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches. Southern Cuba...4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches. Jamaica...1 to 2 inches. The upper Florida Keys into southeast Florida...10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches. Lower Florida Keys...4 to 8 inches. Eastern Florida northward into coastal Georgia...8 to 12 inches, isolated 16 inches. Western Florida peninsula...4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches. Much of Georgia...South Carolina...and Western North Carolina...3 to 6 inches.In all areas this rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and, in some areas, mudslides.SURF:  Swells generated by Irma are affecting Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, and should start affecting portions of the southeast coast of the United States later today and tonight.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.  Please consult products from your local weather office.NEXT ADVISORY ------------- Next complete advisory at 500 PM EDT.

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Denis Davis

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