DISCUSSION: Impacts of Hurricane Irma are already beginning to be felt in the Florida Keys. The graphic above shows the forecast rainfall amounts over the next 5 days associated with the storm. Compared to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, these rainfall amounts seem mild with maximum amounts "only" up to 20 inches over extreme south Florida. These smaller rainfall amounts expected from Irma are due to the expectation of Irma not lingering over south Florida like Harvey did over Houston. Nevertheless, several inches of rain over a short amount of time can quickly cause life threatening flooding. In addition to heavy rainfall and associated flooding, Irma has the potential to bring high winds and dangerous storm surge (in some areas greater than 9 feet above ground) over a large stretch of the southern and western Florida coast even up to the panhandle of that state. In summary, Irma is a very dangerous storm and will be bringing multiple hazards to much of the Florida peninsula over the next several days. If you are still in the path of this storm, especially if you are in flood-prone area, it is strongly encouraged for you to evacuate if you are able.
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©2017 Meteorologist Dr. Ken Leppert II