During the afternoon hours on Friday, Cuban radars caught Irma’s impressive eye traveling and brushing the island. At this point, advisories had the storm as a category 5, but weakened to a category 4 during the overnight hours on Saturday.
As Irma begins to affect Florida, its feeder bands have already brought tropical-storm-force wind gusts and torrential downpours Saturday morning. Tropical-storm-force winds will become more sustained in the early afternoon, and increase to hurricane-force early Sunday.
Just to put it into perspective, these tropical-storm-force winds extend 195 miles and hurricane-force winds extend 70 miles from the center of Irma. South Florida is a little over 100 miles wide.
Other impacts include: storm surge and rainfall. Storm surge warnings have been issued for areas in Broward, Miami-Dade, and the Keys. Coastal flooding due to storm surge could reach heights greater than 3 – 6 feet above ground.
As for rainfall, flooding is one of south Florida’s primary concerns. The forecast has 10 – 15″ of rain with isolated amounts of up to 20″ through the next 3 days. While Irma’s track takes it toward the North, south Florida will continue to get rain from the storm into next week.
Be safe, south Florida
Meteorologist Vivian Gonzalez
WSVN Morning Weekday Meteorologist