As of 11 am, Hurricane Irma becomes the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin with winds of 180 mph. We should be paying close attention to extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma.
On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move over or near the northern Leeward Islands tonight into early Wednesday and preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to
completion. Irma will then pass north of Hispaniola Thursday and approach the southeast Bahamas including the Turks and Caicos Islands on Friday. Over the weekend, Irma can be a major hurricane located anywhere between the Bahamas, Florida and Cuba.
Model guidance is suggesting that after 5 days, Irma will be turning northward. That turn will depend on an unseasonable front moving into the United States. Right now, it has
Impacts around the Caribbean Islands are not looking good. Dangerous storm surge possible. The Leeward Islands can see 6 to 9 ft storm surge above normal tide levels, 4 to 6 ft for the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and 1 to 4 ft for Puerto Rico. Winds along all of these islands will range up to 150 mph with rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches. Isolated amounts of up to 12 inches likely through Wednesday. By Thursday, impacts will move into the Dominican Republic and Haiti and reach the southeastern Bahamas including the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Now the question everyone wants to know… What can South Florida expect to see down the road with Irma? Based on the forecast track from The National Hurricane Center, the center of Irma will remain over the warm waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. This means it will be a dangerous hurricane approaching Florida and the chances of South Florida seeing some impacts from Irma later this week are increasing. Right now, the exact impacts are not known, but what we do know is that the probability of tropical storm force winds 39+ mph is between 60-70% chance and that means we will be feeling Irma at some point this weekend. The forecast calls for the outer feeder bands to be moving in before the weekend with rain squalls from time-to-time. Also, damaging winds along dangerous seas expected.
Now is the time to review your plans, get your supplies and be ready in case Irma makes landfall in South Florida as a potential major hurricane.
Keep it tuned to your Storm Station for the latest!
Meteorologist, AMS Certified
WSVN Channel 7