Irma Rips Cuba North Coast, Northwest Turn Later Toward SW Florida
Irma Rips Cuba North Coast,
Northwest Turn Later Toward SW Florida
Overnight Irma moved on to the the north coast of Cuba and has been straddling along the Cuban Keys. The eye of the hurricane has been literally bouncing up and down on the barrier islands. Irma came into Cuba last night as a category 5 hurricane with winds of 160 mph. The interaction with the mountainous terrain as well as the circulation being over the island has weakened Irma overnight. However very soon the eye will emerge into the open waters of the Florida Straights and begin its turn toward the north.
The westward shift at least keeps Irma from making a direct hit to Southeast Florida and the threat now is for a full run at the West Coast of Florida. The trend all through Irma’s existence has been to shift to the west and that has indeed played into this in the final days. Now the question is how much re-strengthening will we see when Irma pulls away from the north coast of Cuba. It still seems Irma will be a strong category 4 hurricane as it approaches Southwest Florida.
Radar from Miami shows the outer bands of Irma beginning to bring rains to the mainland and the keys and this activity will be increasing as we go through the day.
Most of the track model guidance is in agreement here with the track now straddling along the west coast of Florida with a landfall further north up the coast. Most of the models bring Irma very close to Tampa St Petersburg. Landfall risk in my view is from Fort Meyers northward. We still don’t know how irma is going to react to the upper trough when it turns. I don’t want to discount a last minute eastward shift even though if it happens it is not likely to be a large one.
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