Octoberlike Here as Hurricane Irma Slams Caribbean

Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean island of Barbuda overnight.  St. Martin & Anguilla are in thick of it now (as of 7am), with a 12-foot storm surge, even higher waves, torrential downpours, and wind gusts conceivably around 200mph!

Meanwhile, our weather couldn’t be nicer.

Outdoors as of 7am, it’s simply gorgeous in the Mid State!  This picture was just tweeted to us by @Spikeo1 from his place in Hendersonville, overlooking Old Hickory Lake.

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It feels like October, too!  Look at current temperatures (again, as of 7am)…

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This afternoon, we’ll have just a few fair weather clouds.  There’s the slightest chance for a passing sprinkle or shower between 2pm & 6pm over southern Kentucky and northern/northeastern Middle Tennessee.

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Looking at the next 7 days, our fall preview’s going to linger for a while!  In fact, we’ll flirt with record lows the next two nights, as temperatures in the 40s will be common.

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Now to Irma!  As of 7am, maximum sustained winds are still at 185mph, making it a very powerful Category 5 storm.  That may sound redundant since all Category 5 storms are powerful.  However, the lower end threshold for Category 5 status is 157mph.  SO…Irma’s winds are nearly 30mph higher than that!

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Notice the official National Hurricane Center track takes the storm into the heart of south Florida on Sunday night.  This is a shift rightward from previous tracks.

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Forecasters at the Hurricane Center made this change because the general consensus of computer models has also shifted right.  Take a look.

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Both the European (ECMWF) and American (GFS) models actually take Hurricane Irma up along the east coast of Florida (as opposed to into south central Florida).  SO…those models are even farther right of the Hurricane Center’s track.

Take a look at the ensemble model members.  An ensemble forecast is a type of numerical weather prediction through which a computer model is run many times (often dozens) with slightly different initial conditions.  The result paints a bunch of solutions (in this case, lines that reflect Irma’s potential eventual path) that illustrate the certainty or lack thereof of a forecast. The more closely packed the lines, the more certain the forecast.  The more spread out they are, the greater the potential error in a given track forecast.  This map, taken from http://www.wunderground.com/tropical, shows a tremendous amount of these ensemble members are east of the Florida peninsula.  It also shows the westernmost potential tracks stay east of Tallahassee.

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What this means is that I fully expect the National Hurricane Center to continue to move its official forecast track farther eastward today.  That means, things are progressively looking better for Tampa and Fort Myers.  Meanwhile, things are looking worse for Palm Beach, Savannah, and the Carolinas!

More on Irma through the afternoon and evening on News 4.  Join us!

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