Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma making landfall in south Florida

The storm surge splashes over the famous Key West buoy, as Irma nears the tiny chain of Florida islands. 
Hurricane Irma has strengthened this morning on its final approach to south Florida. Bands of heavy rain and fierce winds are impacting Florida's east coast, but it is the Florida Keys and the west coast that will take a direct hit over the next 24 to 36 hours. As of 5am Sunday, Irma was located 40 miles south, southeast of Key West, crawling northwest at 8mph. Winds in the eye wall of the storm have increased to 130mph (215km/h). A wind gust to 88mph (141km/h) was observed at Alligator Reef Light early this morning. The incredible forecasters, still on duty at the Key West National Weather Service office, reported a gust to 79mph. Isolated tornadoes are possible in the feeder bands from Irma throughout south Florida today.

Irma will remain a very dangerous storm as the system sweeps from south to north across the Florida peninsula today. Fort Myers, Naples, and Tampa are in the cross hairs for direct impacts form the strongest winds. Already major flooding is occurring, even on the east coast of Florida. Storm surges of 10 to 15 feet are forecast on the west coast, with 6 to 8 feet from the upper keys into Miami-Dade. Power is out to an estimated half million customers already in south Florida. Irma is forecast to move into Georgia on Monday.

I have not forgotten about hurricane Jose. Indications are that this storm may also impact the US. I will deal with that once Irma is out of the way. More updates will follow later today on both systems.

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