Sunday, September 10, 2017

Center of Irma on Land, Weakening...

As we approach 6 pm EDT, the center of Irma is about 20 miles SE of Ft. Myers now accelerating to the north at 14 mph.  Her max winds are down to 110 mph with some higher gusts in the eyewall.  With the quicker forward movement, the threat of super high rain totals diminish.  It appears to me that the center of Irma is 15-20 miles to the right (east) of the NHC centerline track.  This will make  a huge difference for areas like Tampa Bay-St. Pete, Sarasota-Bradenton as they will be on the weaker side of the storm and the projected 5-8’ into Tampa Bay likely to be no worse than 3-5’.   I’m watching Jim Cantore in the eyewall at Ft. Myers and he is standing up, not leaning into the wind.  That tells me the winds are way less than 100 mph meaning Irma is weakening quicker than projected.    Not to say there will be no impacts, but hopefully the catastrophic damage earlier feared is not going to happen and the widespread power/cable outages will be the main issues.  Let’s see if the trend to the east of Tampa continues as that will be great news for all of central Florida.   There will be strong winds, there will be tree damage and some power poles down, but most buildings should be able to handle 75-90 mph winds.  Those of you with family around Disney World, they are in the rain shield now with the strongest winds arriving in about 3-4 hours.  Their worst time for winds will come between 9 pm till 3 AM with improving conditions before daybreak.    We’ll update that tonight.


Locally, we have seen the muggies return as some of the moisture from Irma is circulating back towards us with dew points back into the 60s.  Even a few brief showers were detected on radar.  The buoy south of Mobile and east of the mouth of the River has sustained winds of 25-30 with gusts to 40 mph with wave heights over 11 feet!  That’s with a storm hundreds of miles away!   Until Irma gets higher than 30 degrees north latitude (on line with NOLA), we’ll continue with gusty winds and high seas off the coast.

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