September 8, 2017 11:45pm
Hurricanetrack.com contributor: Jesse Bass
As Mark is busy this evening with preparations for the arrival of Irma this weekend, the NHC this evening has said in the 11pm advisory that recon found surface winds have once again increased to 160mph. The center has continued to push off to the west this evening and is brushing the northern coast of Cuba. It seems that the ridge of high pressure that has been stirring Irma is stronger than the models thought, so off to the west she continues to go. So the forecast track has shifted slightly westward closer to the western/Gulf coast of Florida. So its possible that Irma would stay out over the water longer before moving into the Florida peninsula sometime Sunday. And as long as the center stays off Cuba or is over land for a brief time, Irma should maintain cat 4 or 5 intensity.
Timing of the the tropical storm force winds should start being felt in the Florida keys sometime tomorrow afternoon as Irma has grown in size and the wind field has expanded. The officials in the Keys are now saying that if you haven’t decided to leave or just haven’t left yet, do so, “get out now!” Conditions will begin to go down hill rather quickly after that and through the evening tomorrow night so any preparations that are not complete should be done so ASAP. You should stay tuned to your local TV, radio stations and local officials to get the storm specific conditions and effects for your area. Please take this situation seriously as Irma is a large and dangerous hurricane.