Irma departing Cuba as conditions deteriorate in South Florida

This is an article written by Meteorologist Zack Fradella:

As of the 4 PM ET advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Irma is slowly meandering away from the coast of Cuba as a Category 3, 125 mph hurricane. The motion has become more west-northwest indicating the turn has begun.

After looking at the latest satellite imagery, Irma remains a very well organized storm even with the interaction with Cuba. This means over the next 24-48 hours as the storm traverses the warm water of the Florida Straits, restrengthening into an intense Category 4 is likely.

All afternoon track guidance is in good agreement that Irma will continue to make the turn north with a first landfall expected in the Lower Keys Sunday morning. Thereafter, the storm will parallel the West Coast of Florida possibly making landfall between Naples and Sarasota Sunday evening.

Regardless of the final landfall, impacts from Irma will be widespread across Florida. A potential storm surge up to 15 feet is possible in SW FL with nearly 5-8 feet possible into Tampa Bay.

Mark Sudduth is on the way to Naples to station more instruments closer to the final landfall point.



Irma to restrengthen tonight, significant surge expected in SW FL

This is an article written by Meteorologist Zack Fradella as of 11 AM ET:

Hurricane Irma remains along the northern coast of Cuba on this Saturday morning and has continued to slowly weaken due to the interaction with land.

The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center at 11 AM ET has weakened Irma down to a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph but the movement has slowed quite a bit down to 9 mph. This is likely indicative that the turn towards the north is beginning and will likely play out throughout the day today.

Although the storm has weakened, once Irma moves off the coast of Cuba and into the Florida Straits, restrengthening is expected. In fact, the National Hurricane Center does forecast Irma to regain Category 4 strength before moving over the Keys early Sunday. Some of the warmest water in all of the Atlantic Basin is ahead of this storm which is certainly not good news for the Florida coastline.

Water inundation is expected to be between 10-15 feet along portions of the SW Florida Coast with as much as 5-8 feet of surge expected into Tampa Bay. Residents are urged to complete their preparations as conditions will continue to go downhill through the day today and especially tonight.

Mark Sudduth spent most of last night in the Keys placing pods that gives you the capability at home to track the data yourself on the HurricaneTrack app. His plan is to go to SW Florida today to put out more instruments.


Major accomplishment in Marathon as powerful Irma takes aim on Florida

 Hurricane impact app

Hurricane impact app

Just a quick note to let our app users and our hurricane track insider subscribers know  that I have activated the first weather station along with live video in Marathon in the Florida Keys.

I have also added a brand new video discussion with important information concerning the track of Irma and the expected impacts – especially storm surge!

It has been a long but very successful night and I am very proud of the work that led to the deployment of the equipment in marathon. A huge thanks goes out to Mike Adams  for helping me!

I am going to get a few hours of sleep – meteorologist Zack Fradella will handle the video discussion based on the 11 AM advisory package.

I will be back out in the field beginning in the early afternoon to set up additional live camera systems along the West Coast of Florida as we cover the effects of powerful hurricane Irma using state of the art technology.




September 8, 2017   11:45pm 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.

Mark may have an update for you later tonight before he gets some much needed rest. irma-lalo


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.