Irma’s Wrath Takes Aim at Florida Gulf Coast of as Hurricane Winds Officially Reach the Keys

Key West, FL…Extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma is centered at 8 p.m. EDT about 110 miles (175 km) southeast of Key West. Radar loops indicate that Irma has temporarily slowed down, but the hurricane has been moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph (11 km/h) since earlier today. A northwest motion is expected to begin tonight with a turn toward the north-northwest on Sunday. On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near the north coast of Cuba during the next few hours, and should be near the Florida Keys Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon.

A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft has found that Irma’s intensity is a little lower, and the maximum sustained winds are estimated to be near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Irma is forecast to restrengthen once it moves away from Cuba and remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). Marathon International Airport recently reported a sustained wind of 48 mph (77 km/h) and a gust to 67 mph (108 km/h). The minimum central pressure based on aircraft data is 932 mb (27.52 inches).
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for South Santee River southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River including the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from north of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River. The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

Cape Sable to Captiva…10 to 15 ft
Captiva to Ana Maria Island…6 to 10 ft
Card Sound Bridge through Cape Sable, including the Florida Keys…5 to 10 ft
Ana Maria Island to Clearwater Beach, including Tampa Bay…
5 to 8 ft
North Miami Beach to Card Sound Bridge, including Biscayne Bay…4 to 6 ft
South Santee River to Fernandina Beach…4 to 6 ft
Clearwater Beach to Ochlockonee River…4 to 6 ft
Fernandina Beach to North Miami Beach…2 to 4 ft

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass including the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay; the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus,Villa Clara, Matanzas, and Havana, Andros Island, Bimini and Grand Bahama. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach and west of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass. A few tornadoes are possible this evening and tonight over south Florida, expanding northward into central Florida on Sunday.
For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. – For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.

The next complete advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11 p.m. EDT –

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