Irma shifting west, both sides of Florida Peninsula to experience significant impacts

This is an article written by Meteorologist Zack Fradella as of 7 PM ET.

Hurricane Irma remains a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph as of the 5 PM ET advisory from the National Hurricane Center. One big change centers around the latest track but also the fact the official forecast now calls for the storm to become a Category 5 again as it strikes the Keys early Sunday morning.

Some of the latest track guidance is now projecting a more westward motion with Irma with a track now crossing the middle to lower keys before approaching a final landfall near Naples or just east. This is small shift in the grand scheme of things but has major implications on the impacts for Southwest Florida.

After the track shifted closer to Miami and the Atlantic Coast the past few days, many residents in the Naples/Ft. Myers/Port Charlotte up through Tampa may have let their guard down. The reality now is you could see a Category 4 or 5 hurricane directly impact you within 48 hrs. Residents there are urged to listen to emergency officials and prepare accordingly.

This is not just going to be a coastal storm as wind impacts over 100 mph will likely stretch from the landfall point in South Florida all the way up through Tampa/Orlando and maybe even as far north as Jacksonville. Due to the overall size of Irma and strength it will take multiple hours for the storm to weaken down to a minimal hurricane or tropical storm which is not expected to happen until South Georgia.

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About Mark Sudduth

Greetings! I am Mark Sudduth, the founder and editor of HurricaneTrack.com. The site began in 1999 as a way to post info concerning tropical storms and hurricanes for any interested visitors. Little did I know how big it would become in the years since. Now, we have millions of visitors from all over the world who have come to rely on the site as a no non-sense, tell it like it is resource for all things hurricane related. We are supported by a combination of corporate sponsors and our loyal Client Services members who subscribe to premium content on our sister site, premium.hurricanetrack.com. I am married with six energetic and intelligent children and live in southeast North Carolina. I graduated UNC-Wilmington in 1995 with a BA in Geography and have studied the effects of hurricanes on our society ever since.
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