After a long and catastrophic path through the Caribbean that shattered numerous weather records, Major Hurricane Irma finally made landfall on the United States at 9:10am on September 10, 2017. With maximum sustained winds of 130mph with higher gusts, Irma crossed Cudjoe Key at 24.7N 81.5W as a Category 4 hurricane. Minimum pressure at landfall was at 929mb. This is the first time in recorded history that two category four hurricanes made landfall on the US in the same season. Today also marks the traditional peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
The storm is forecast to continue to move north into the Florida Peninsula. Based on its approach, Fort Meyers, Sanibel Island, and Cape Coral appear to be at ground zero where the worst storm surge will hit. Here, the Gulf of Mexico will surge well inland, sending in 10-15 feet of water through populated areas there.
Powerful winds will continue to plow up the west coast of Florida, with gusts over 140mph possible from Marco Island to Sarasota. Hurricane force winds of 75mph or more are expected over southern and central Florida along and sound of I-4 today. Tropical Storm Force winds will spread over all of Florida and into Georgia and South Carolina later tonight into tomorrow.
Frequent tornadoes are being spawned by the bands of convection that surround Hurricane Irma’s eye. Numerous tornado warnings are being issued throughout the Florida Peninsula and this tornado risk will continue all day and night.