Hurricane Irma officially made landfall at Cudjoe Key just after 9AM this morning as a category 4 storm, packing sustained wind speeds up to 130 mph and gusts as high as 160 mph. Between the winds, storm surge, and tornadoes, the Florida Keys and the entire peninsula of Florida are being hit hard. You can see pictures and video of the destruction (so far) here. As of noon, Irma remains a category 4 and is now tracking further north. Irma has tracking further north at this time than previously forecast (it was supposed to be taking more of a northwesterly jog at this time).
With this slight shift in track, eastern parts of Florida are being hit hard. Flooding, collapsed cranes, and devastation are occurring on Miami – the opposite site of the state from where landfall is actually taking place!
A second landfall will be likely along the west coast of Florida as the storm tracks north and, eventually, northwest. The west coast of Florida will still see the worst damage. Fort Myers and Tampa are still right in the cross-hairs of Irma and will be dealing with the storm this evening and overnight tonight. From there, Irma will continue to track northwest, eventually weakening to Tropical Storm status. Believe it or not, the entire Atlanta metro is now under a Tropical Storm Warning – the first time that’s ever occurred!
The latest forecast models are now pulling the remnants of Irma further north, bringing us more cloud cover for the middle of the week and giving us a better chance at some showers, especially Tuesday night and Wednesday. We’ll keep watching any changes to the forecast – right now, these shower chances still look very hit and miss. It’s important to note that Irma isn’t the only storm being tracked by the National Hurricane Center at the moment…
Hurricane José, now also a powerful category 4 storm with wind speeds up to 130 mph, has been forecast to make a sharper turn east and stay out to see. However, the latest forecast track is someone more concerning, suggesting that the storm may spin in the Atlantic for a few days, leaving it’s track after the middle of the week more and more unclear. It is entirely possible that this storm could impact the U.S. coast. In fact, the latest European forecast model solution suggests that this could impact the New England coast 9-10 days from now. Of course, a lot can change between now and then, but you can bet that the National Hurricane Center and the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team will be watching José closely!