Irma approaching SW FL, landfall expected later today

From Meteorologist Zack Fradella:

Hurricane Irma remains a Category 4 major hurricane with winds of 130 mph as of the 11 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Movement is to the north at about 9 mph which will put Irma very close to the Southwest Florida coast later this afternoon.

Currently the worst of the weather has transitioned to Southeast Florida, specifically the Miami area as winds are now gusting to hurricane force. The Lower Keys experienced wind gusts to 120 mph this morning as the storm made landfall but conditions are improving as the center lifts north.

Rapidly conditions will deteriorate along the Southwest Florida coastline from Naples up through Tampa this afternoon as the eyewall of Irma moves onshore. Multiple reports from the west side of the state are indicating a significant low tide as the winds remain offshore. That will quickly change as the center approaches the coast and the storm surge inundates the coastline. Everyone is being urged to not venture out to the beach to see the low tide as when it rises, it will do so rapidly.

You can monitor the latest stream from Marco Island, Florida on the link below or by downloading the Hurricane Impact app from HurricaneTrack.com:

Marco Island Storm Surge Cam

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Irma making landfall across the Lower Keys

Updated: 8:45 AM ET Sunday, Sept 10

Irma is now making landfall and crossing the Lower Keys of Florida. The winds are well in excess of hurricane force with a storm surge moving in with it.

Our live weather station and cam were knocked off the air just a few moments ago – in fact, everything coming out of the Lower Keys was lost – all Facebook live feeds, etc. from storm chasers and others. It happens – the network can only endure so much.

We do have two camera systems running farther up the coast – one in Marco Island and one in Naples. Those will last all day today and in to tonight – network conditions permitting.

I have posted a new video discussion with continuing updates of the potential for storm surge flooding along the SW and W coasts of Florida over the next couple of days.

I am in Miami right now but will be heading towards Cedar Key and the Big Bend area later to set up additional equipment.

Zack Fradella, our colleague in New Orleans, will have another video and blog post around 2pm ET this afternoon.

M. Sudduth

 

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Hurricane force conditions approaching Keys, South Florida

From Meteorologist Zack Fradella:

Hurricane force conditions are moving into the Keys and will continue to spread inland into South Florida as we move into Sunday morning.

The latest information from the National Hurricane Center as of 11 PM ET Saturday shows winds are now down to 120 mph which is still a major Category 3 storm.

An update from earlier forecasts only shows an increase in winds up to 125 mph keeping the storm a Category 3 as it approaches the Florida West Coast on Sunday. I must caution everyone that intensity forecasts are the biggest struggle for forecasters and considering the organization on satellite tonight, don’t be surprised to see Irma go through a strengthening phase before landfall.

A storm surge is expected to impact all areas across the state of Florida but more specifically, the southwest corner of the state is of highest risk for up to 15 feet of water level rise as the center moves onshore.

Outside of the overall hurricane impacts, tornadoes are another threat that comes with a landfalling storm. The highest threat area overnight for tornadoes will be in Southeast Florida from Miami to West Palm Beach.

Conditions will continue to go deteriorate from south to north along the Florida Peninsula throughout the night tonight and especially on Sunday.

I’ll have more in the morning, stay safe!

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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.

 

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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.

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