Powerful Hurricane Irma continues to make it's way toward the state of Florida, leaving behind damage and breaking record after record. Hurricane hunters are out collecting data until Irma makes landfall in Florida sometime Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Irma has made landfall in Cuba and may weaken *slightly.* Once Irma gets into the Florida Straits, before making landfall, it will likely strengthen a bit and is expected to be a strong category 4 or cat 5 at landfall. The water in the Straits is warm and the shear is low, which will allow for the storm to continue to remain a massive wind machine.
There has been a shift in the models - a shift to the west - as Carolyn mentioned in the earlier post. Here's a plot of all of the models as of Friday night:
Landfall is looking more and more likely and it looks like it may very well happen in southwest Florida. This would put areas like Naples, Fort Myers, Lake Okeechobee in some dangerous winds and the west coast in for the worst of the storm surge. This scenario also poses a giant threat for the Florida Keys for incredibly strong winds and storm surge - prompting the National Weather Service office in the Keys to URGE residents to get out.
There could be some changes in the exact track - it's all going to be dependent on when the northward turn begins. But once it does it looks like the storm will move up the entire state of Florida - something I've never seen before.
On top of that - look at the size of the storm. Here's a photo of Irma at sunset Friday night:
Irma is roughly *three times* the width of Florida -- and that is why, regardless of the point of landfall, impacts will be felt across the state. Up to 12 feet of storm surge possible and winds could gust as high as 150 mph. This storm is going to cause damage. It is going to be something unlike anything Florida has experienced before.
A different song is being sung in the Midwest where it has been dry and will continue to be dry. Meteorological summer ended in August with below normal precipitation across much of the Midwest and the first week of September hasn't been much different...
And through the next 10 days there is little to none expected - especially in my neck of the woods. Some parts of northern Minnesota and the Dakotas may get into some decent rainfall.
The weekend will be nice, sunny and warm. One to enjoy in the Midwest - also a weekend that will likely go down in history in Florida.