Hurricane Irma is churning mainly westward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Irma is a major Category 4 hurricane and continues to grow in size with near perfect conditions around the storm. Those very favorable conditions will be persistent along its path in the coming few days.
We know that the storm is going to stay strong as it moves across the open ocean into the Leeward Islands and the Caribbean. Below is the track of Hurricane Irma from the National Hurricane Center. The cone shows the likely path of the storm. Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic Cuba, The Gulf Coast, Florida and the Southeast coast need to be on guard.
Damaging winds, heavy rain, and storm surge are expected starting later Tuesday for the Leeward Islands and other Caribbean countries. Hurricane watches have been issued. If Irma goes extremely close to Hispaniola then it could weaken and its track would likely be affected. If it misses the mountainous island then Irma will have more control over its own fate.
You can see computer models are showing this hurricane remaining very strong or evening strengthening to a Category 5 at some point. Severe winds, high storm surge and torrential rains will be common within reach of Irma.
United States Impact
It is still too soon to know the general area that will be impacted. It is not set in stone yet that Irma even makes landfall in the United States. Overall the storm should get pretty close to the US if it does not actually move over land. Model guidance has generally agreed on a possible landfall between Florida and the SE coast around Georgia and the Carolinas.
Remember impacts from tropical systems can be hundreds of miles away from the center of circulation so don’t pay attention just to where the eye of the storm is heading. Any US threats won’t be till the weekend so there is plenty of time to review your hurricane plans and be prepared.