I mentioned several blogs ago that computer models do very well with large & intense storms like Irma. It’s difficult to go against the models when ALL of them keep indicating she will make a sharp turn to the north on Saturday. I pointed out on my last blog that she has not followed the models that kept her just off the Cuban north coast and that has spurred a fury of responses. If you want to know what NHC is saying, many of you go to their site or watch local broadcasters who repeat that information. I have always prided myself on giving additional information that I see based on years of experience. It’s what I do and I realize some folks don’t like that. John Coleman (my early mentor & founder of The Weather Channel) once told me…”if you try and please all of the people all of the time, you’ll end up pleasing no one.” So let me begin again on what Irma is doing. She continues to move to the west at 12 mph, although it appears to me she has almost come to a halt just as the eye reached the north side of Cuba. That may be the sign she is about to finally begin the turn to the north? NHC has shifted their centerline track just slightly to the west now making landfall near Ft. Myers. NHC says the blocking high north of Irma has been a little stronger than expected, hence the farther westward shift. IF this pans out, the real bad part of Irma will be on Florida’s west coast with lesser impacts along the east coast. Hurricane hunters flying around tonight say her winds are back up slightly so as of 10 PM Irma is back to Cat. 5. So assuming the turn to the north happens and her winds don’t decrease, the greatest damage will come first to the Florida Keys, including Key West where the storm surge could be 8-12’. Farther up the coast, Naples & Ft. Myers will get hammered and eventually Tampa-St. Petersburg. Hurricane force winds will extend inland even to Disney World and power outages are likely to be widespread. Irma will produce 5-10” of rain with some spots getting 6-12”. That will be enough to cause some flooding, but she will not be like Harvey as models indicate a track northward into Georgia & Tennessee. This still is Florida’s Storm with far less impacts to coastal Georgia & the Carolinas as earlier expected. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. We should know by midday if the turn is happening. Stay tuned!