At 11:00 AM EDT, Hurricane Irma was located at 25.0°N 81.5°W, about 80 miles south-southeast of Naples, FL. Irma was moving north (350°) at 9 mph. Max sustained winds have dropped to 120 mph and the minimum central pressure in 933 mb (27.79 in Hg).
Before I start the forecast discussion, I’ll preface it with this…Right now, any changes in the forecast are not going to matter all that much. Just prepare for the worst and if it’s anything less, you’re lucky. Please remember that this storm is not just a line and impacts will span the state for Florida.
The 2nd landfall is expected to be near Sanibel Island on Sunday evening. The eye of the storm is expected to move up the west coast through the evening hours, finally exiting the state Monday afternoon.
The NHC has maintained their track, which is consistent with this afternoon’s forecast models. This is in line with the midday European model and between the recent GFS and NAM model runs. It is expected to move across the Tampa area as a Category 3 hurricane.
Rainfall totals across the swath covered by Irma are expected to be in the 10-15 inch range, with your obligatory isolated higher totals, approaching 20 inches.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet
* North Miami Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River
* Florida Keys
* Tampa Bay
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass
* Florida Keys
* Lake Okeechobee
* Florida Bay
* Cuban provinces of Matanzas and La Habana
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line
* North of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* Bimini and Grand Bahama
Points of Interest:
Tampa & Polk Co (Lakeland) – Conversely, the westerly shift in the track a lot of pressure to this area. A protracted amount of time with hurricane force winds, likely 95-105 mph. Surge also becomes an issue on the north side of Tampa Bay, and will be compounded by heavy rainfall.
Orlando – At this time, It is likely that the eye of Irma will pass west of this area. Winds are expected to be in excess of 70 mph at this time.