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Joe’s Weather Blog: The problem(s) with Irma (WED-9/6)

Basically it comes down to something really simple to understand. Where and when does Irma make it’s expected hard right north (northwards) over the weekend. Does it occur at x o’clock or 6-12 hours before or after x o’clock. Potentially this will be the difference in a multi billion dollar disaster and not one. It comes down to that really. Does it hit Miami with it’s full force (maybe not as strong as it is now though) then skirt up the coast…does it go somewhat inland and go parallel to the coastline northwards…another terribly bad outcome. OR does it manage to stay out to sea, skip Florida (mostly) but then head towards GA/SC.


Forecast:

Tonight: Clear and crisp with lows in the 45-50°. The record is 47° set in 1986

Thursday: Sunny and cool with highs in the mid 70s

Friday: Sunny and mild with highs approach 80°

This weekend: Ditto with highs around 80-85°. There may be a few more clouds around on Saturday


Discussion:

Not going to dwell much on us…except to mention that today is the 10th straight dry day in the KC area…and no rain is coming anytime soon.

Irma

My goodness what a storm. It’s essentially maintained 180+ mph winds for about 24 hours now…and recon aircraft and now doppler radar from San Juan indicate the storm may be lowering it’s pressure again…indicating some more strengthening is possible

Here’s a look at the radar from San Juan…it may load slowly due to hit

It’s an meteorologically amazing storm to watch.

Unfortunately the .gov websites that I rely on to show the cool animations are so overloaded that things aren’t working smoothly today.

The recon planes are still flying around the storm and will do so for days to come. It’s still impressive what they’re finding especially from a pressure standpoint and a wind standpoint.

Notice the blue line in the upper left box…that dip to around 910 mbs equates to about 26.87″ on you’re typical home barometer (which probably doesn’t go that low anyway). It’s extremely low pressure.

What a storm it is and was…according to Philip Klotzbach‏ (@philklotzbach) here are the records that Irma has already broken…through yesterday.

Irma last night hit Barbuda in the Leeward islands denoted by the locator…on the right side of the map below.

About 1700 people live on the tiny Island…communications with the island are down so there’s no report about the status there…it must’ve been a terrible night though…they were directly in the eye of the storm.

St Maarten, another small island country was hit hard as well…and today some of the Virgin Islands got thrashed during the morning hours.

From the Hurricane The latest forecast for the storm Center…shows this…

Look carefully towards the area off the northern coast of Cuba…that position is key. Where will Irma be on SAT AM as it gets ready to turn rather sharply northwards?

You can see how a storm with a forward velocity of about 15 mph…turning north…if delayed or extended out by 6 hours…would make about a 50-75 mile change in how far west the storm is. In other words…let’s say the storm is moving WNW-15. IF it turns at 6AM SAT more towards the NW or N over  a few hours…it would hit/affect ____ BUT if the turn is delayed about 6-12 hours…now it’s farther west by about 50-100 miles…then it would affect ____ as it comes north.

The EURO model today is a worst case probably. Last night it shoved things a bit farther east…then today it adjusted west about 20 miles.

So here is a look at the GFS forecast for Sunday morning…

GFS forecast has winds near landfall at over 130 MPH

Now the EURO forecast…

EURO…not as strong with winds closer to 95 MPH

Regardless it’s a bad situation for South FL…especially from West Palm Beach southwards…at least on Sunday.

Then from there the models sort of have it near the coast or just offshore. Hurricanes have a tendency to actually repel themselves from land if they can…and with the shape of the eastern coastline of FL…it may very well hug the coast or barely stay off shore ala Matthew from last year.

Once of the many issues though is what to do with all the people…some are getting ready to leave, especially in southern FL. Most have never been through anything like what could happen.

My feeling is that Irma should start weakening somewhat as it moves towards the north. What strength it will have IF it approaches Savannah or Charleston next week remains to be seen…but I don’t think, from a wind standpoint it will be as strong as it is now…

There are still many questions about how bad it gets in South Florida…again all timed to the exact place and time of the change in direction towards the north. It better weaken…although the surge aspect whenever Irma finally hits land for good is not something to mess around with…

Again to reiterate…when and where the turn north occurs…will dictate the severity to the state of Florida.

Joe

 

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