Sunday, September 10, 2017

Irma Churning Northward over Central Florida...

At 11 PM EDT, the center of Irma is about 30 miles east of Bradenton moving northward at 14 mph.  This has become a northern loaded system with little precipitation on the south side.  Winds are still gusting 80-90 mph but NHC still keeps the sustained winds at 100 mph.    As I mentioned earlier, the decrease in wind speeds should mean the damage should be restricted to power/cable outages and some minor property damage.   The main population centers from Tampa-St.  Pete to Orlando to Daytona will be in heavy rains & gusty winds for another 3-4 hours.   After 3 AM EDT, the rains should decrease quickly along with the winds, but the wind gusts will remain too high for any repair of power lines until sometime after midday on Monday.   As intense hurricanes weaken, their wind field often spread out & that has happened this evening.  New Orleans Lake Front airport (NEW) has sustained winds 20-25 with gusts to 35-40.  The buoy east of the mouth of the river has seas now over 12 feet, all part of Irma’s circulation.   She should be approaching north Florida/Georgia by daybreak and will cause more power outages even though by then NHC may make her a Tropical Storm.  Thankfully, Irma took the eastern side of the error cone and has stayed far enough inland to allow weakening to occur.  The newest NHC track slowly curves her back to the NW to just east of Tallahassee and then into Al/MS.  Some tropical storm force winds could get as far west as Panama City on Monday while our winds could gust 25-30 for much of the day.   Despite all the damage to both coasts of Florida, it could have been much worse.  Had Irma stayed a 150+ mph storm and taken either the first track over Miami or the later track up offshore along the west coast,  damage could have been catastrophic.  With help from thousands of power company employees from other states, I feel Florida will be back & running within a day or two.  Let’s hope so.


Jose is expected to wander around NE of the Bahamas & even make a loop heading back toward the east coast later this week.  With an east coast trough over us, Jose would be turned northward just like Irma.  We have no weather issues for the next 5-7 days.

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