Joe’s Weather Blog: All eyes on Irma (THU-9/7)
Once again with a lack of weather in the KC area for the foreseeable future…this blog will be dedicated to the Irma situation. There is all sorts of potential with the storm and most of it is bad…and potentially very bad. There has been so much of a change in south FL over the past 20+ years…since the last category 5 hurricane hit (Andrew) in 1992…that concern is very high…from a property standpoint and a people standpoint.
Back home…we actually set a record low this morning…down to 46°. The previous record low was 47°. My forecast from this past weekend nailed this…which is a good feeling! Here is a quick forecast for KC…
Today: Mostly sunny and mild with highs near 75-80°
Friday>Sunday: Mostly sunny and warm with highs 80-85°
So it’s all about Irma…actually there are two other hurricanes out there as well…Katia and Jose…Jose may become another major hurricane by the times things are all said and done and sadly hurricane watches have been issued for Barbuda and Anguilla. Barbuda was 90%+ devastated and the Prime Minister of the island nation may evacuate the entire island because of inhabitable conditions especially with a 2nd storm potential now. Katia is in the SW Gulf of Mexico heading into Mexico later tomorrow…Jose is on the right side of the satellite pictures above…could be a Bermuda threat towards the middle of next week…then there’s Irma north of the Dominican Republic
Irma is still a powerful category 5 hurricane. There have been some very minor fluctuations in the max winds associated with the storm…from 185>175 mph.
The storm is heading directly for the Turks and Caicos Islands it appears…and from the pictures coming from the Islands already hit…odds are near total destruction may occur there depending on the strength of the buildings.
From there there hasn’t been a lot of change in the thinking that has been with us for days now…timing and where a more pronounced north turn occurs will determine how bad things get in Florida.
There is still an outcome where things aren’t that terrible…but it would rely on Irma passing some 100 miles off the SE coast of FL…doable but right now…the least likely scenario.
The next scenario is somewhat possible…a closer passage of the eye of the storm…but still 50 miles off the coast line…this would create flooding potential and tornado potential in some area…Miami is a terribly flood prone city to begin with…add in higher tides and some storm surge and flooding will be an issue regardless.
The next potential is by far the most destructive and potentially the most devastating to the state…an eye passage just barely west of Miami…then a move somewhat up the coast through West Palm Beach…then perhaps a somewhat off the coast northwards track.
This path is the current forecast and is highlighted by the EURO model from overnight at least. Hurricane Watches have been issued for Southern Florida as of late this morning.
Earlier in the blog I mentioned that because of the changes that have taken place in Florida since the last bad hurricane (Andrew)…there a lot of people who haven’t been through this before…look at all the folks who have either moved within the state or moved to the state in the last 15+ years
Perhaps because of this…and I think more likely because of what happened with Harvey…there are a lot of folks wanting to not even mess with the potential of this storm…check out the northbound traffic in the state via Google Traffic. Those red roads are very heavy traffic conditions…all heading north
Model solutions continue to be consistent with themselves. The GFS (from last night) has the storm offshore while the EURO brings it onshore…
The difference is the potential of $200 billion or more. The potential is a big difference from Harvey in terms of the way things are damaged…yes flooding will be an issue in southern FL…but the wind destruction and the storm surge destruction along the coast is the big $$$ damage potential. There are so many trailer/mobile homes down in that part of state…those things can’t take 100 MPH winds…according to the census Florida has over 750,000 mobile homes…the highest percentage is around Jacksonville, FL…when checked in 2000…there were over 40,000 mobile/manufactured homes in Miami and Dade Co in southern FL.
You can see the potential for disaster.
One note to those of you who watch the model data…the EURO vastly outperformed the GFS model for Harvey…and so far at least.,..it’s outperforming the GFS for Irma. See this twet below…thge GFS model is denoted by the AVNO moniker. Also note that despite the model..there have been huge location errors at the 72 hour forecast…100-250(!) miles. That difference equates to billions of dollars in damage right now in terms of where things end up.
More on the storm over the next few days (obviously)