Eve before Florida landfall for IRMA
PM Saturday 9th September 2017
From west to east
KATIA is off radar ashore in Mexico and considerably weakened.
Hurricane IRMA made a partial landfall on the coast of a Cuba this morning which has had two significant impacts. One was to weaken eye-wall cycling by introducing dry air. This also reduced the storm's groundspeed to a dawdle along the north coast of Cuba, causing the hurricane to weaken to a category three and to widen its windfield, current HSI 30 (18 for size and 12 intensity). IRMA will recover strength by the time it makes a landfall in Florida tomorrow but the wider windfield will remain HSI 37 (20 for size 17 for intensity) a 300 mile diameter tropical storm windfield. Currently 100 miles south east of Key West, the eye is moving due west along the north coast of Cuba producing winds of 110 knots with gusts up to 135 knots. Squalls have already begun to radiate across southern Florida. IRMA is expected to get under way overnight and cross the Florida straits to make a category 4 landfall around Key West around midday tomorrow. The predicted track has nudged west again and is set to run inshore of the west coast. This really is academic now as hurricane force winds can be expected across the peninsula. IRMA will weaken only very slowly as it tracks close to the west coast of Florida, then more rapidly as the storm moves fully inland over northern Florida and into southern Georgia by late Monday morning. There is precious little good news. Tomorrow is going to be a very long and hard day.
There has been an eleventh hour reprieve for the Leeward Islands. Currently 60 miles north east of Barbuda, hurricane JOSE took a turn north west and may have missed a landfall altogether. Now headed north west at 12 knots this is still a category 4 hurricane with a hurricane force windfield of 70 mile diameter and tropical storm force winds over a 280 mile diameter, the IRMA-hit islands will undoubtedly experience tropical storm force winds, but escape the violent centre.
Disturbance Thirty Eight is located about 1000 miles to east of the Lesser Antilles along moving west-nor'west at 20 knots. This disturbance may enhance showers and thunderstorms across the Lesser Antilles early next week but remains poorly organised and unlikely to perform.
Newbie Disturbance Thirty Nine is an open tropical wave that has emerged off the African coast and is moving to the west-nor'west at 12 knots. All signs indicate that this will curve early into the subtropical Atlantic and give us all a bit of a break.
Stand by for a hard day in Florida tomorrow.