Bruising hurricane IRMA westbound

Sunday 3rd August 2017

Disturbance Thirty Four is inching its way west across the Bay of Campeche. The predominant environmental factor is the southbound cold front descending on the Gulf of Mexico which is bringing welcome wind shear and dry air with it, which will prevent this disturbance from making a nuisance of itself.

Hurricane IRMA is currently 900 miles east of the northernmost Lesser Antilles, headed slightly south of west at 12 knots. This is currently producing winds of between 100 and 120 knots and has a hurricanes severity index of 16 out of a possible 50 points (5 for size and 11 for intensity) with a predicted eye-watering 35 (18 for size and 17 for intensity) which is a real bruiser. The slight southerly deviation is of concern as this may delay a curve into the Atlantic and increases a direct impact threat on the Leeward Islands on Wednesday as a very powerful hurricane. Unfortunately, continued fluctuations with pressure gradients surrounding the Bermuda High and the low pressure area over the continental United States prevents ant truly reliable forecast on life after the Leeward Islands for IRMA. I can't see anyone making any firm and reliable forecast for at least 48 hours, however eastern seaboard, Florida, eastern & central Gulf of Mexico hurricane response plans should all be under way by now.

Disturbance Thirty Seven is still a dark horse. Currently three days west of the Cape Verde Islands, the system is moving west at 13 knots. This may be overshadowed by IRMA at the moment, but does have a twinkle in its eye and very capable of development.

More tough days at sea in the central tropical Atlantic otherwise, stand easy - for the time being, anyway.