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Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Irma Stronger, No Turn in Sight...
Irma now has peak winds of 180 mph making her the strongest hurricane EVER in that part of the Atlantic. She is a wind force nightmare and I’m sure we will see crazy videos during the next 5-7 days of building failures. My concern is she continues to march westward at a constant speed. Large hurricanes have difficulty turning with such fast forward motion. Unless she begins to slow down, which is likely, the models trending farther to the west will continue. Several now bring Irma as far west as Mobile. IF that were to happen, all the anxiety over Florida would be for nothing as the main impacts would not affect most of the state. I’m sure many New Orleanians remember Katrina’s track. She was supposed to make the turn and hit Apalachicola, however, she kept going farther to the west so when she did make the turn, it was too late for NOLA. We need to pay attention to make sure Irma makes the turn well before 90 degrees west longitude. RIGHT NOW, it appears the turn will come around 85 degrees west taking Irma just off the west coast of Florida. There remains high UNCERTAINTY as to which side of Florida Irma goes. Just a little change in track (100 miles) will result in huge changes in impacts. IF Irma keeps churning to the west, she will reach the SE Gulf on Sunday. That will be our decision time. There are a couple of things to watch for. IF Irma doesn’t start veering to the WNW, her circulation will go over Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, 2 very mountainous Islands. That should disrupt her circulation and weaker her greatly. However, IF she veers slightly to the north of those islands, then her intensity should stay Cat. 4 or 5. Regardless, this is going to be a destructive and probably deadly storm for those who don’t take her seriously. Our cold front still looks on track for late Wednesday and that should block Irma from getting to us. But stranger things have happened. We need to stay up on the progress of Irma and be ready to react if her danger projects farther to the west.
Jose has formed way out in the Atlantic and should stay well at seas. Katia may be the next named storm over the Bay of Campeche as clouds have flared up this morning. With strong west wind shear over the northern Gulf and a front coming, we don’t need to worry about that. Focus on Irma. FOX 8 will have full details at noon. You can video stream the broadcast on www.fox8live.com Stay tuned! Bob Breck