The National Weather Service (NWS) held a Special Weather Briefing today in reference to Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 3 Storm, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph and a minimum pressure of 941 mb, moving W at 9 mph. Please note that the National Hurricane Center is forecasting the storm to increase in strength again after it leaves Cuba and travels toward Florida.
The current forecast has again shifted to the west and the models are becoming in agreement as we progress through each day and these models are now showing a more west track with the eye of the storm moving north up the Alabama Georgia line. This new forecast track would place all of our area on the “East” or “Dirty” side of the storm. This has also now placed our area in the Highest Risk zone for High Winds, Flooding and Rain Wrapped Tornadoes. Our area is forecast to be in the area where 2-3 inches of rain is possible with locally higher amounts within tropical downpours.
The earliest time of arrival for our area is 0800 hours Monday morning with the most likely time of arrival in our area late Monday afternoon into Monday night extending overnight Monday into Tuesday.
Wind gusts are predicted to be in the 30-40 mph range Monday during the day and increasing to 50 – 60 mph range later Monday and overnight Monday night. The storm should start to move out of our area Tuesday morning and the winds in our area will decrease back to the 30-40 mph range Tuesday.
This is a very dangerous storm situation for our area. The NWS used the following language in their email update earlier today and the track has now shifted further west causing our area to be included in the impacts listed below:
- Winds of this magnitude will cause impacts comparable to those of Hurricane Opal in 1995 when wind gusts of 50 to 75 mph occurred in the Atlanta metro area.
- Thousands of trees and power lines will be downed.
- Power outages may last over 24 hours.
- Travel disruptions and delays due to downed trees may be substantial.
Please continue to monitor the situation and plan accordingly. Additional information will be provided as it is received from the NWS.