Hurricane Irma now a Category 5 storm

Posted at 6:44 AM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 09:27:46-04

CURRENT UPDATE: Hurricane Irma is still a very dangerous Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts to 225 mph. Pressure is down to 914 mb. Irma is tracking through the northern Leeward Islands this morning with landfall in Barbuda at 1:47 AM, and heading toward St. Martin, St. Barths, and the Virgin Islands later this morning. 

The main change in the latest advisory is a shift in the forecast track. Models are indicating the track is trending further east, and the National Hurricane Center indicates that shift with the latest update. As it stands, the window for potential impacts in SWFL is still Saturday-Monday, but the severity of potential impacts is still dependent on Irma's track and how soon it turns north heading into the weekend.

We'll keep you updated with the latest both on-air and online. 


TUESDAY UPDATE: Hurricane Irma is now the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in National Hurricane Center records with sustained winds of 180 mph, gusts to 220 mph, and pressure down to 931 mb. 

Hurricane Irma is still tracking west near 14 mph, and projecting to impact the northern Leeward Islands as a potentially catastrophic and deadly Category 5 storm tonight and tomorrow. Hurricane-force winds currently extend outward up to 60 miles away from the center. 

The 5 day track is still uncertain, meaning the severity of impacts to SWFL are not yet known, although the threat is steadily growing. It is important to make sure hurricane kits are prepared and plans are in place heading into the weekend. The window for potential impact is Saturday night into Monday morning, with the worst conditions expected Sunday as it stands. 

There is still much unknown about Irma's 5 day track, but we'll bring you the latest on-air and online as it develops. 



8AM UPDATE: Hurricane Irma has become an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane with winds near 175 mph. While the future track is still uncertain as it approaches South Florida the potential for impacts from Irma is increasing.

Below is the latest information.


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As of Sunday evening, Hurricane Irma is now a major hurricane again, at Category 3 status with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and is moving west at 14 mph.

Hurricane Watches have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands, including Antigua Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.

These watches are in effect as Irma could potentially bring dangerous winds, heavy rain, storm surge and flooding concerns to those areas as early as Tuesday night.

Further strengthening is still possible for Irma as it takes a brief dive south, then moves west northwest around a ridge of high pressure towards the Bahamas. At that point, it could be a category 4. The GFS and European models show Irma nearing the state of Florida sometime next weekend, then possibly recurving towards the north.

However, many other long range models and ensemble forecasts show different solutions and nothing is set in stone at this point. With a great deal of model disagreement, there is still plenty of uncertainty in the forecast, namely the strength and position of the Atlantic ridge and trough over North America - two players that will help steer Irma.

With this in mind, expect the forecast to change. But, it is very possible that Irma could be a threat somewhere along the east coast of the United States by next weekend. It is just too early to be very specific on where that could be.

Hurricane Hunters are in the process of flying through Irma to gather data that will be instrumental in fine tuning the forecast in the days ahead. We will keep you updated.