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Hurricane Irma - now a Cat 5 storm - is massive, stronger than Harvey, and headed for Florida
Here we go again
Batten down the hatches folks. Hurricane Irma is currently working its way past Cuba and Haiti and is expected to make landfall on the US East Coast as early as this weekend.
The storm has just been upgraded to a Cat 5, with winds exceeding 175mph, making it the strongest such weather event to come out of the Atlantic basin in a decade. At the moment it appears to be bearing down on Florida, though experts say that track could still change.
As the WaPo reports:
The storm is life-threatening for the United States and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, as well. Hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands and the Greater Antilles, including Puerto Rico. A hurricane watch was issued for Hispaniola.
With maximum winds of 180 mph, Irma is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean outside the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. By wind-speed, it’s the third-strongest storm on record anywhere in the Atlantic, behind Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Hurricane Allen in 1980. And in its Tuesday morning discussion, the National Hurricane Center said the storm is in an environment “ideal for some additional intensification.”
It's also huge. How huge?
Here's a good summation from Fox4 in Rochester, New York, filmed prior to the Cat 5 upgrade.
If there's a silver lining here, it's that Irma is moving much faster than Harvey. The odds are it's not going to park itself over a single location for an extended period of time. Hopefully, that will mitigate some of the sustained storm damage and flooding we've seen over the last two weeks.
Still, no one should get complacent. It's time to say a prayer, get ready, and keep your eyes on the forecast.