Hurricane Irma Targets Leeward Islands; Warnings Posted
Hurricane Irma earlier this morning (September 5, 2017) viewed on Earth Networks severe weather tracker, Sferic Maps. It continues to move west.
Live Hurricane Irma
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Category 5 Storm
Chart-topping Category 5 Hurricane Irma will strike the Leeward Islands and the Greater Antilles over the next several days. it will bring dangerous storm surge, destructive winds, and flash flooding. The major hurricane will likely bring problems to the northern Caribbean starting midweek. It will likely bring problems to part of the U.S., possibly south Florida, by later this weekend.
As of 2 PM EDT (AST), we located Hurricane Irma near 16.9 N and 59.1 W, or:
- About 180 miles east of Antigua
- 185 miles east-southeast of Barbuda
Hurricane Irma’s top sustained winds are at 185 mph. This makes it a severe, chart-topping Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Irma’s minimum central pressure is 926 mb, or 27.34 inches of mercury. It continues to move westward at 14 mph.
— NWS (@NWS) September 5, 2017
Warnings & Watches
- St. Kitts
- St. Eustatius
- Saint Maarten
- Saint Martin
- Saint Barthelemy
- the British and U.S. Virgin Islands
- Puerto Rico
- The Dominican Republic
- Southeastern Bahamas
- Turks and Caicos
Tropical Storm Warning
In the United States, the entire state of Florida is currently under a state of emergecny. Key West is currently being evacuated in preparation for the storm.
Hurricane Irma will bring storm surges of 7 to 11 feet, possibly destructive winds, and rainfall exceeding a foot to the Leeward Island later today and Tuesday. The rainfall could produce flash flooding and mudslides in mountainous areas. Irma will approach and pass near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later Tuesday and Wednesday. In those areas, it will bring the same severe hurricane conditions.
A strong Atlantic high pressure positioned to the north of Irma continues to guide the storm. Irma’s center will move very close, if not right over the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday. It will then likely come very close to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba during the midweek.
Westward Track & Warm Water
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 5, 2017
Following the passage of an East Coast cold front, a high-pressure ridge settling in will help keep Irma on a westward track. This means the southern Bahamas and Cuba could be Irma’s next target Friday into early next weekend. Beyond that, it’s looking increasingly likely that Irma could turn more towards the north and impact Florida late in the weekend or early next week.
Warm water along Irma’s path will allow it to maintain its major Hurricane status. Some fluctuation in strength is possible. A hurricane this intense could lead to catastrophic damage along its path. Therefore, Irma will need to be closely monitored if you live in or have plans in the Caribbean Islands or along the Eastern U.S.
Preparation plans should be developed, including putting together a hurricane survival kit and planning evacuation routes from your area. Multiple routes should be considered in case your preferred one is blocked. If you own a business in a targetted area, it’s important that you take the proper precautions before the storm hits. This business checklist for hurricane preparedness should help you get ready.
This storm just comes two weeks after Hurricane Harvey. Irma is the fourth hurricane this season. It formed on the final day of August off of the west coast of Africa. Irma is also the second major hurricane of the season. In a normal season, the second major hurricane often doesn’t form until October 3rd.