As of 8PM EDT on Friday night, Hurricane Irma is still a category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph and gusts as high as 190 mph. It’s important to note that on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which is used to categorize hurricanes, Irma has wind speeds just 2 mph below the threshold of a category 5 storm, which is 157+ mph. The eye of the storm is just 150 miles offshore of Cuba, having moved through some of the Bahamian islands on its path northwest.
While there has been a slightly westward shift in the forecast track of Irma, it’s still bad news all around for Florida. The last forecast has this storm making landfall as a category 5 hurricane (winds 157+ mph) on Sunday morning. If the winds weren’t bad enough, the storm surge will be devastating. Some places will see over a foot of rainfall. This storm is significantly larger in size than Hurricane Andrew was in 1992 and may be just as catastrophic.
By Monday afternoon, the storm should weaken to Tropical Storm strength, but not before bringing destruction to a good portion of the Florida peninsula.
This will be a storm to remember. Right now, it’s looking like an area of high pressure may be positioned to our advantage, keeping most of the moisture south early next week. There is a chance we’ll see some cloud cover and a few showers on Wednesday, but otherwise, our area should be minimally impacted. We’ll continue to watch Irma closely, so keep checking back for updates! In the meantime, if you have friends/family in Florida, make sure they are taking this storm seriously and are either stocked up and prepared or have evacuated.