Monday, September 4, 2017

Late Night Irma Update...

Before I begin…let me correct a typo from my last blog.  I mentioned a Cat. 6 hurricane.  There is no such thing.  The top end of the scale is Cat. 5.       My bad, but perhaps it’s how I feel about the strength of this storm?  It’s a strong Cat. 4 tonight at 140 mph and the latest track center line takes it north of all the major islands and into the Florida Straits before making a radical turn to the north.  IF that were to happen, there would be little land interaction/friction to slow down the storm’s intensity and South Florida would likely deal with the kind of wind force last seen with Andrew in 1992.    Let’s begin with what I have said before.  Computer models handle major hurricanes very well regarding forecast track.  If Irma follows the guidance, Florida continues to be in the bullseye.  The Florida Governor has already (rightly so) issued a state of emergency.  95% of the models track Irma right over the state.  Granted, we are still 4 days away & “stuff happens”.   There is still the chance Irma could turn sooner and completely miss Florida…or… she could not make the turn until later and threaten the eastern Gulf Coast.  There remain lots of UNCERTAINTY.   We humans only think we know Mother Nature.  I’ve seen loops (Betsy, Elena) and double loops (Juan) that models did not predict.  Let’s not think what NHC is putting out will happen.  The forecasts for Harvey were excellent.  If Irma’s track forecast is as accurate, then Florida needs to prepare for the worse.   Storm surges along the coast with power outages & street flooding everywhere can be expected.  No one should say…”I didn’t know it would be this bad”.    I know many of you have family in Florida and are concerned about their safety.  Let me assure you this is not their(local officials) first rodeo.   Follow the orders of local officials & evacuate from low lying areas.  If inland, shelter in place.   There is still plenty of time to prepare.  I am not nervous yet that Irma will not make the turn.   Our crunch time happens Saturday night into Sunday.  By then we should know if the turn is happening. Bruce pointed out tonight that NHC slows Irma’s motion going into the weekend.  Slower forward speed should allow Irma to make the northward turn.   Working in our favor is an approaching cold front that should block Irma from coming our way.  That also should block anything that might develop over the southern Gulf.  The other system way out in the Atlantic is of no concern.  Focus remains on Irma.  Next update will be midday on Tuesday.

1 comment:

Richard Taylor said...

Bob,
I was wondering about the CAT 6 but you see how much I trust you! I didn't even google it! After seeing this morning that Irma was now a CAT 5 at 180 mph, with no land mass to slow it down, she may become a CAT 6.