Well folks, we’ve got a pretty large hurricane churning in the waters to the east of us. As of 5 a.m. this morning, it looks like Hurricane Irma – currently a strong category 2 storm – will go to the north of us, but that does not mean we will not get heavy rains, winds and possible storm surge here. It simply means that the eye wall – which measured 12 miles wide yesterday – will pass to the north of us. The forecast can also change, so we all really need to keep an eye on this. Here is the latest from the National Hurricane Center.
Irma appears to have weakened a little during the last several hours. The eye has become cloud filled once again, and the convective pattern is not as impressive as it was yesterday. A blend of the latest Dvorak classifications from TAFB/SAB and ADT values from CIMSS at the University of Wisconsin support lowering the initial wind speed a little to 95 kt. It is interesting to note that a ship (BATFR17) passed within 50 n mi to the west of the center of Irma and has only reported winds of about 40 kt, indicating that the core of Irma is compact.
The observed fluctuations in strength during the past day or so are likely to continue for about another day while Irma remains over marginally warm waters and in fairly close proximity to dry air. Eyewall replacement cycles, like the one observed yesterday, could occur, but forecasting the timing and duration of these are not possible. After 24 hours, Irma is expected to move over
progressively warmer waters and into a more moist environment. These more favorable conditions combined with low to moderate wind shear should allow the hurricane to strengthen. The NHC intensity forecast follows the consensus aids HCCA and IVCN, and it is fairly similar to the previous advisory.
Irma is now moving due west at 12 kt. A subtropical high pressure system to the north of the hurricane is expected to strengthen and build westward during the next couple of days. This pattern should cause Irma to move west-southwestward during that time. Thereafter, a turn back to the west and then west-northwest is predicted in the 3-5 day time period when Irma moves on the south and southwest sides of the high. Although the models agree on the overall scenario, there remains about 200 n mi north-south spread among the best-performing models on day 5. The NHC track forecast has been adjusted to the south at the longer-range points, and it is about halfway between the latest runs of the GFS and ECMWF models.
1. Irma is expected to be a major hurricane when it moves closer to the Lesser Antilles early next week, producing rough surf and rip currents. Irma could also cause dangerous wind, storm surge, and rainfall impacts on some islands, although it is too soon to specify where and when those hazards could occur. Residents in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Irma through the weekend and listen to any advice given by local officials.
2. It is much too early to determine what direct impacts Irma will have on the continental United States. Regardless, everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the season.
And here is the National Hurricane Center’s map of estimated impact times:
And here is an image we captured using our Living Earth iPhone app just a bit ago. It shows how large the storm is. St. John is the blue dot to the left of the storm.
Here is a checklist to prepare for a storm:
And here is how to prepare your animals for a storm:
On a positive note, my father had an Aunt Irma and she was a very nice lady. Hopefully this Irma is nice to us too.