Hurricane Irma is expected to come onto the shores of South Florida with relentless fury on Sunday. We will be posting the latest forecast tracks and advisories from the National Hurricane Center right here as long as we are able. Advisories typically release every three hours.
The worst-case scenario is here. Hurricane Irma will come ashore in Collier County. The wall, and the strongest winds, will be in moments, the eye on shore in hours. If you are still in Naples, Marco Island, or Everglades City, go to an interior room and protect yourself now.
The eye of Irma is moving over the Keys right now. Today is the day. The eye is expected to pass over Southwest Florida this afternoon and evening. Maximum sustained winds are 130 mph.
Nearly 500,000 people in Miami-Dade County are without power. FPL is showing approximately 4,000 outages in Collier County.
Irma might be beginning its turn as of Saturday night. The latest advisory points direction as northwest at 6 mph.
The eye is now partially visible on the short range radar from the National Weather Service station in Miami. The center of circulation is 90 miles southeast of Key West, and about 180 miles southeast of Naples. Hurricane-force gusts are beginning to batter Key West, which is still at risk of direct impact.
Hurricane Hunter aircrafts report a double-eyewall structure, meaning Irma is becoming less organized. Forecast projections from the National Hurricane Center are saying that Irma could strengthen slightly once over open water, but are expecting landfall as a Category 3 major hurricane, still an extremely dangerous storm.
Current maximum sustained winds are at 120 mph. But what makes Irma dangerous isn’t the winds, it’s the storm surge. Forecast models still estimate as much as 15 feet of storm surge could inundate Southwest Florida’s coastlines. For reference, that’s higher than the typical single-story home. That surge, combined with up to 20 inches of rain, could lead to disastrous flooding in the area.
Forecast models are continuing to shift to the west, but the center point on the track is still in Southwest Florida.
Irma has once again weakened slightly, down to 120 mph despite the center of circulation having moved off of Cuba.
The much anticipated — and much feared — turn to the north still has not happened yet. The National Hurricane Center’s advisory says west-northwest, but at just 7 mph. NHC forecasts have been saying for days that Irma’s forward progress would slow immediately before the turn.
The center of circulation sits 110 miles from Key West. Irma’s eye is clearly visible on radar from the National Weather Service Station in Key West.
Conditions will deteriorate quickly as the sun sets on Southwest Florida tonight.
Irma has moved off of the Cuban coastline and is moving to the west-northwest at 9 mph. A further turn to the north is expected to happen tonight.
Maximum sustained winds remain at 125 mph.
Intensification of Irma is expected over the next 24 hours.
The National Weather Service is warning of an imminent threat of storm surge, with inundation of 10 to 15 feet.
The eye should be passing over the Florida keys at daybreak, the NHC says, and passing or coming ashore in Southwest Florida by tomorrow midday.
Irma continues to weaken thanks in part to interaction with the Cuban coastline, with maximum sustained winds dropping to 125 mph; a Category 3 hurricane.
However, additional strengthening is expected as it leaves land and moves over the warm waters of the Florida Straits and Gulf of Mexico. The center of circulation is 175 miles southeast of Key West.
Forecast tracks keep it moving west — for now — at 9 mph. It will turn northward sometime today. Forecasts had been calling for the storm to slow before the turn, it’s forward momentum is now the slowest its been in several days.
Forecast tracks continue to call for landfall somewhere on Florida’s west coast, the center of circulation could be just off the coast of Marco Island by 2 p.m. tomorrow. The National Hurricane center calls for it to reach Category 4 strength by that time.
Lee County has announced mandatory evacuations for anyone along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and anyone in Cape Coral south of Pine Island Road.
Germain Arena is now accepting pets, according to Lee County officials at a 10:30 a.m. press conference. It wasn’t previously.
Rain bands are now entering Collier County.
8 a.m.’s intermediate advisory comes with great news, relatively speaking. Winds have fallen significantly as Irma runs along Cuba, now down to 130 mph. That’s still a Category 4 hurricane.
The storm continues west-northwest at 12 mph.
The possibility exists, according to National Hurricane Center forecaster Lixion Avila, that Irma could strengthen once again as it leaves Cuba and begins the northward turn, however the forecast sees wind shear beginning to affect the storm’s circulation in about 24 hours could counteract that regeneration.
SATURDAY 5 a.m.
Hurricane Irma has weakened as it interacts with the northern coast of Cuba.
It still remains a very dangerous storm, however, with 155 mph winds.
The center is circulation is 245 miles south of Miami, moving toward the west-northwest at 12 mph.
Today is the day that Irma will begin its turn.
Forecast models have been shifting westward, and have Irma buzzing the west coast. Direct impact is possible anywhere from Marco Island to Tampa.
The 11 p.m. forecast continues to send Hurricane Irma westward.
In forecast discussion by National Hurricane Center forecaster Robbie Berg, the high-pressure ridge which Irma has been tracking along the southern boundary of is stronger than expected, and continues to push Irma west.
The eye is moving due west at 13 mph, and is located 300 miles south of Miami.
Hurricane Hunter aircrafts have found winds strengthening once again, and are now pegging maximum sustained winds at 160 mph. The storm is currently making landfall along the northern coast of Cuba. It is possible, Berg writes, that Irma could weaken if the eye travels over the Cuban mainland, but if it remains over the keys, that chance is less so.
Forecasts still call for Irma to make a sharp turn toward the north in the next 24 hours, and are calling for it to make landfall somewhere on Florida’s west coast on Sunday as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.
Irma continues to move due west at 12 mph, and remains a Category 5 hurricane. Maximum sustained winds are 155 mph.
The southern eyewall is currently passing over the coast of Cuba. Further interaction with the island could potentially weaken Irma slightly.
Forecast models are showing a potential landfall on Southwest Florida’s coastline sometime Sunday.
As of 5 p.m., Irma remains a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. The center of circulation is moving due west at 12 mph.
A turn toward the north is still expected in the next 24 hours, with hurricane force winds impacting Southwest Florida by Sunday.
The forecast tracks expect Irma to continue moving west for the next 12 to 24 hours, bringing the eye very close to the coast of Cuba before the turn.
When the turn will happen is still unknown, and is what is putting the entire Florida Peninsula on alert. The most likely point of impact for models continues to be the Southwest Florida coastline, however, with the eye coming ashore slightly to the east of Marco Island and Everglades City.
Rainfall totals of 8 to 15 inches are possible. Storm surge on the coastlines of 8 to 12 feet is possible if landfall coincides with high tide.
The 2 p.m. forecast advisory has Irma’s center of circulation 380 miles to the southeast of Miami, moving to the west at 14 mph. The storm has once again regained Category 5 strength, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.
The forecast track expects that Irma will begin a turn to the north sometime on Saturday, with impacts somewhere along Florida’s southern tip. Forecast models are starting to come into agreement that it will likely be the western half of the state which receives direct impact.
Storm Surge Warnings are in place for all of Southwest Florida’s coastline, with potential storm surges ranging from 6 to 12 feet if they come during high tide.
This post will be continuously updated as information becomes available and as conditions allow.
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