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Hurricane Irma: Nightmare Scenario

Forecast track puts entire Southeast in danger …

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Monster storm Hurricane Irma plowed toward the Caribbean early Wednesday as one of the most dangerous tropical systems in recorded history.   Even worse, the latest forecast track for the storm could portend a nightmare scenario for the southeastern United States.

As of the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory, Irma is located thirty-five miles east-southeast of St. Martin, one of the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean.  It is packing maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour – making it a strong category five system on the Saffir-Simpson scale and the second-strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

According to NHC forecasters, Irma “is moving toward the west-northwest near sixteen miles per hour … and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.”

After that things could get dicey.

Irma’s latest five-day forecast window shows the storm turning sharply to the northwest upon its approach to Florida – a path eerily similar to the one Hurricane Matthew took last year.

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: NOAA)

Meanwhile, here is the storm’s projected forecast track …

(Click to view)

(Via: NOAA)

“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category four or five hurricane during the next couple of days,” the NHC warned.

If its current forecast track holds, Irma would approach the south Florida coast sometime late Sunday – likely still retaining category five strength when it does.  However many models are showing  the storm sliding up the east coast like Matthew did and making a landfall in Georgia or the Carolinas sometime Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Bottom line?  The likelihood of widespread devastation and loss of life is high … which is bad news under any circumstance but terrible news considering the destruction we are continuing to witness in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

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