Hurricane Irma is a monster of a storm as she churns in the western Atlantic. As of the 5:00 PM AST update, Irma has maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and a minimum pressure of 916 millibars. As it stands, Hurricane Irma is tied with the second strongest hurricane in the Atlantic. As impressive as this hurricane is, it is also a threatening hurricane. Officials are ordering a mandatory evacuation for the Florida Keys. The Florida governor has already declared a State of Emergency ahead of the storm. The National Hurricane Center has predicted very little change in intensity even as it impacts the mountainous terrain of the Caribbean Islands. Sea surface temperatures are very warm and there is very little shear in the future path, Hurricane Irma will remain a very strong major hurricane. A strong ridge in the central Atlantic is expected to keep Irma moving west-northwestward over the next couple of days. A mid-latitude trough over the eastern United States is expected to lift northeastward which will help keep Irma on a northwestward direction through Friday. Irma is expected to pull northward after a shortwave trough weakens the western portion of the ridge. After 72 hours, the uncertainty of the track increases. The ECMWF model (also called the EURO) indicates a southerly track and a sharp turn to the north around day 5. The GFS takes Irma farther north and east late in the forecast. Hurricane watches and warnings have been posted for the Caribbean Islands. For a complete list, click here!
Impacts include high surf that could be life-threatening. Torrential rainfall amounts of up to 20 inches could cause flash flooding and landslides. Storm surge will also be life-threatening as large breaking waves will raise water level “above normal tide.”
Hurricane Irma is a very dangerous storm. Stay updated here!
ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell