Hurricane Irma Takes Wicked Turn
A new model shows Hurricane Irma taking a westward turn as it approaches the state of Florida, putting the Florida Keys and Tampa both at risk of bearing more of the brunt of the storm than was originally feared.
According to CNBC, the storm is now more likely to first strike the Florida Keys and then move up the west coast of the peninsula. While the east coast of the state — including Miami — is less likely to see the catastrophic effects predicted earlier in the week, it will still see damaging wind and rain.
In a Friday evening Facebook post, KMOV-TV weatherman Steve Templeton said the new forecast also predicts Irma will be more powerful than originally projected when it makes landfall early Sunday morning.
“The trend of the forecast track adjusting more to the west continues. And now it’s expected to be a category 5 as it likely hits the Florida Keys Saturday night into Sunday morning,” Templeton wrote.
“The exact track will be determined by precisely when and how sharp it will turn north. A more gradual and late turn now puts southwestern Florida and the Keys in the path. On the southwest coast of Florida potential cities in the path of the hurricane are Naples, Bonita Springs and Ft. Myers.
“The main risk is wind and storm surge,” Templeton added. “Rainfall of 6″ to 15″ with isolated 20” possible near the southern coast. So this is not like Harvey, less rain because it’s moving faster.
“We’ve seen the track shift east then back west. It can still shift again, so we’ll stay on top of more updates. But the margin for error in the track is shrinking and it looks like the Florida Keys will get hit hard.”
While The Weather Channel notes that wind and rain from Irma is likely to decrease in intensity as it moves up the Florida peninsula, it will still pack a significant punch once it moves into the greater Southeast between Sunday night and Monday morning.
This is obviously an incredibly dangerous storm, and if you’re in its path, we urge you to do whatever local authorities tell you to do. Even if you’re on the east coast of Florida, don’t think that you’re safe just because the storm has shifted path. Take all proper precautions. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with you.