The National Weather Service (NWS) held a Special Weather Briefing today in reference to Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma remains a powerful Category 4 Storm, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and a minimum pressure of 927 mb, moving WNW at 14 mph. ThisThe storm is expected to continue on this track for 24-36 hours before it takes its turn to the north.
The current forecast has been shifted to the west and the models are becoming in agreement as we progress through each day and these models are showing a northwest turn as the storm moves into Georgia. This turn would have the storm moving up the Florida Peninsula and then into Georgia with a projected track carrying the storm across Metro Atlanta. Once the NWS starts to see the actual turn to the North, we will have a better idea of the impact to Georgia and West Georgia.
The earliest time of arrival for our area is Monday morning with the most likely time of arrival in our area being Monday night.
Wind gusts are predicted to be in the 30-40 mph range Monday during the day and increasing to 50 mph overnight Monday night. The storm should start to move out of the state Tuesday morning and the winds in our area will decrease back to the 30-40 mph range Tuesday.
Our area is listed at this time under a Moderate Wind threat and the possibility of flooding with total rainfall in the 3-5 inch range during the storm.
Three scenarios still exist at this point:
Scenario One – The storm moves north up the center of the Florida Peninsula and into Georgia and takes a turn to the northwest in Georgia. This scenario is best for our area as we will be on the “left” side of the storm. We will still have a moderate threat of Tropical Storm Force Winds and Tropical downpours, but a reduced risk of Tornadoes.
Scenario Two – The storm moves up the Florida East coast staying over water longer before making landfall on the Georgia coast and then taking a harder turn to the west. This scenario would allow the storm to be stronger when it actually enters Georgia and possibly increase impacts further inland. This scenario would also produce a Moderate Wind and Rain threat but would also put our area on the “right” side of the storm which is the most dangerous area. We would see an enhanced risk for severe weather and tornadoes with this scenario.
Scenario Three – The storm moves up the Florida west coast staying over water longer before making landfall somewhere on the Florida west coast and then taking a hard turn to the west. This scenario would also allow the storm to be stronger when it actually enters Georgia and possibly increase impacts further inland. This scenario would also produce Moderate Wind and Rain threat but would also put our area on the “right” side of the storm which is the most dangerous area. We would also see an enhanced risk for severe weather and tornadoes with this scenario.
This is still a very dangerous storm with a very uncertain long term track. The actual track of the storm will determine the type and level of any impacts to our area based on the scenarios listed above.
Please continue to monitor the situation and plan accordingly. Additional information will be provided as it is received from the NWS.