Late Afternoon Update on Irma

Good evening, we have the latest information on Hurricane Irma.  At 5 pm, the eye of Irma was located near 22.1 N 76.5 W or 345 miles southeast of Miami.  Maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph.  This makes Irma an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane.  Fluctuations in strength is possible and Irma will continue to move closer to Florida and likely make landfall as a category 4 hurricane.We will get to the official forecast track in just a minute, right now here’s the list of watches and warnings that are in effect…

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Venice
* Florida Keys

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* North of Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County line
* North of Venice to Anclote River
* Tampa Bay

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Anna
Maria Island
* Florida Keys
* Lake Okeechobee
* Florida Bay
* Southeastern Bahamas
* Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and
Villa Clara
* Central Bahamas
* Northwestern Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County Line
* North of Anna Maria Island to the Suwannee River
* Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las Tunas

As far as the forecast track is concern, the official forecast track takes Irma very close to the northern Cuban coast, which could actually be some good news as hopefully some of the circulation of Irma will be disrupted and will cause some weakening.  Otherwise, forecast track brings Irma through the Florida Keys between Key West and Marathon and a landfall between Marco and Everglades City, again as a category 4 hurricane.  Irma will then continue to move northward and becoming a tropical storm near the Florida/Georgia line, then will move to the northwest towards the Ohio Valley weakening to a post-tropical system.

Latest satellite picture still show a very organized hurricane, with the eyewall replacement cycle complete, winds have responded and increased back to 155 mph.  There is the potential that Irma could regain category 5 status, unless the circulation is disrupted by northern Cuba.  This of course remains to be seen and we hope that it will be the case.  Before we get to impacts from Irma and a dramatic look at what the radar COULD look like, the following is a list of locations in Florida that are under evacuation orders…

  • South Bay
  • Lake Harbor
  • Pahokee
  • Moore Haven
  • Clewiston
  • Belle Glade
  • Canal Point
  • Brevard – mandatory evacuations for Zone A, Merritt Island, barrier islands, and some low-lying mainland areas along Indian River Lagoon beginning Friday
  • Broward – voluntary evacuations mobile homes and low-lying areas; mandatory East of Federal Highway including barrier islands beginning Thursday
  • Collier – mandatory evacuations for Goodland, Everglades City, Chokoloskee, all mobile homes beginning on Friday
  • Flagler – mandatory evacuations for nursing homes, all varieties of assisted living facilities, and community residential group homes within coastal and Intracoastal areas and voluntary for zones A, B, C, F beginning on Thursday; mandatory for Zones A,B,C,F, and substandard housing beginning on Saturday
  • Hendry – voluntary evacuations for low-lying areas, non-slab-built homes, mobile home and RVs beginning on Thursday
  • Lee – mandatory evacuations for barrier islands – Bonita Beach, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine Island beginning on Friday AM
  • Manatee – voluntary evacuations for Zone A
  • Martin – voluntary evacuations for mandatory for barrier islands, manufactured homes, and low-lying areas beginning Saturday
  • Miami-Dade – mandatory evacuations for all of Zone A, all of Zone B, and portions of Zone C. Miami Dade residents can find their zones by clicking HERE.
  • Monroe – mandatory evacuations for visitors and residents. A dedicated transportation hotline is available specifically for individuals in the Keys at 305-517-2480
  • Palm Beach – mandatory evacuations for Zone A and B, voluntary for Zone C and Lake Zone E
  • Pinellas – mandatory evacuations all mobile home and Zone A
  • St. Lucie – voluntary evacuations
  • Glades – mandatory evacuations around Lake Okeechobee
  • Hardee – voluntary evacuations for low-lying areas, mobile homes, and port structures
  • Indian River – voluntary evacuations for barrier islands, low-lying areas
  • Lee – mandatory evacuations for barrier islands – Bonita Beach, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine Island beginning on Friday AM
  • Tampa is telling everyone in Evacuation Zone A to get out. A mandatory evacuation of the city’s lowest-lying homes will go into effect at 2 p.m.

If you are under evacuation orders, do not mess around with this storm, LEAVE and if you can, leave the state.  Head to Alabama or Mississippi as the entire state of Florida will be impacted by Irma.  You are quickly running out of time to get preparations completed.  In my opinion, they should be completed by noon Saturday and if you are going to leave, do so TONIGHT!  If you’re going to evacuate, be sure you have a full tank of gas, plenty of cash as ATMs may not work if the power fails.  If you are riding the storm out in your home, be sure to have plenty of non-perishable food items for up to a week, along with drinking water, generally 2 to 3 gallons per person for about a week.  Have plenty of batteries for flash lights.  Have a battery-powered radio so you can continue to get the latest updates.  Stay indoors and away from windows!  Again and I can not emphasize this enough, time is running on and preps should be completed by noon tomorrow.

Impacts from Irma include hurricane force winds, that could gust well over 150 mph in the eyewall!  Storm surge flooding from 5 to as much as 10 feet will be possible near and where Irma makes landfall.  Very heavy rainfall, with totals between 10 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts up to 20 inches will be possible near and where Irma makes landfall.  Tornadoes will also be possible!To end this update, we will take a look at what the radar could look like starting at 5 pm on Saturday to 5 pm Sunday.  DO NOT USE THIS FUTURECAST TO MAKE DECISIONS ON WHETHER TO LEAVE OR NOT!! THIS WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE RIGHT UP TO LANDFALL!

Conditions in Florida will deteriorate throughout the day on Saturday as Irma moves closer.  The widespread heavy rainfall and tropical storm force winds should begin by Saturday evening, with hurricane force winds likely after midnight.  If this verifies, the worst of Irma should arrive for the Key West area between 1 and 3 am, with the eye over the Keys by 4 am.  For the southern tip of Florida, the worst should be between 3 and 7 am, with the eye moving inland by 8 am.  Irma will then continue northward and by the time this run ends at 5 pm Sunday, the eye could be near Punta Gorda.

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This is a very dangerous and deadly situation!  If you are in Florida, please pay attention to all EMA officials and local law enforcement.  Can not stress enough that you are running out of time to get your preparations done!  We will have another blog tomorrow morning between 6 and 8 am.  Have a great evening!