Hurricane Irma Closes in on the U.S.

Hurricane Irma is now beginning its final push toward the United States.  In just the last few hours, the storm has made a decided change in direction toward the north.

See for yourself.  Look at the satellite image below from 2pm.

DT SATELLITE TROP3D2 BUOYS2

Now look at this one from 8pm and compare.  See how the eye (hurricane’s center of circulation) has separated itself from Cuba’s coast notably more than at 2pm?

DT SATELLITE TROP3D2 BUOYS

Rainfall-wise, tremendously heavy rain bands continue to rotate onshore over south Florida, well ahead of the hurricane’s main circulation.

VIDEO VIPIR

Two tornadoes have been produced in these rain bands tonight — one near Miami and the other in the vicinity of Fort Lauderdale.

As of 9pm, Irma was still a category 3 storm with maximum sustained wind (i.e. steady wind…not gusts) at 120mph.

DT TROPICAL FORECAST MOVE2

Irma will continue toward the northwest tonight, eventually crossing over Key West around dawn.  Then, it’ll make landfall over mainland Florida just after sunset in the vicinity of Fort Myers, as a category 4 storm with maximum sustained wind at 140 mph.

DT TROPICAL FORECAST MOVE2e

On Monday, the hurricane will have weakened to category 1 status and be just west of Valdosta, GA.

DT TROPICAL FORECAST MOVE2c

Notice how as we get into early-mid next week, the remnants of Irma will move up into Middle Tennessee.  This means we’ll have a direct impact here, with rain and gusty wind.

DT TROPICAL FORECAST MOVE2d

Clouds are likely to increase late tomorrow night as Irma approaches.  Rain bands will begin Monday during the afternoon, moving in from the southeast.  We’ll have periods of steady, heavy rain Monday night into early Tuesday.  Then Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday count on patchy showers as the remnants of Irma (then just a tropical depression) continue to lose steam.

FUTURECAST shows how that will unfold in your area.

By late week, the weather will improve dramatically.  I’ll share more on that, have new information on Irma, and provide greater detail on its impacts here tonight on News 4 at 10pm. Please join us!

 

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