Monday, September 04, 2017

Hurricane Irma: September 4, Update A

Thanks to everyone who let me know they liked the Hashtag trailer! :-) I’m on my way back to the real world and am at an airport waiting for a flight and scoffing down some dinner - of course wine is included J - so this will be a really quick update. 

Irma is getting better looking by the hour (alas) and is now just about a cat 4 with – her winds are officially 130mph (cat 4 range: 130-156mph), central pressure is 944mb. It’s not surprising that she is slowly growing – as I said yesterday, there isn’t anything in her way. Her satellite imagery really shows what a strong storm she is - you can see the great circular outflow:

The only way she will decrease in intensity in the next few days is if her eye actually goes (or interacts) with one of the Leeward island, which is a tough hit to take, and even then, it won’t decrease her intensity by much because they are relatively small compared to her size. It is too soon to say exactly where her eye will go – it’s still over 1 day from the islands.

But for those on the Leeward Islands and the Greater Antilles, as you know, it’s not just the eye but given her size, a broader area.  

She is currently at 16.7N, 54.4W, heading W at 13mph. So a marginal slow down again, but nothing much. She is moving slightly south of west, but generally westwards.
I know a lot of you are concerned with her track and intensity after the 4-5 days window – first, the track is really uncertain that far out – by a couple of hundred miles! And the track she takes will really determine her intensity that far out – if she goes over Cuba for example, she will will be a really weak storm as she gets towards the Florida area. On the other hand, if she stays over water and takes the northern edge of that cone, she will go over the Florida Current (part of the Gulf Stream system), which has very deep warm water, which means she will intensify.

For now, definitely everyone in the Leeward Islands, Greater Antilles, Hispaniola, Cuba, and both sides of Florida should prepare or begin to prepare (as if you haven't already). 

Ok, gotta run for my flight! More later tonight.

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know. 

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