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Update on Major Hurricane Irma and What the GFS and Euro Models are Showing


After rapidly intensifying in the last 24 hours, Hurricane Irma is now a major hurricane (considered Category 3 or above) with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph with gusts as high as 140 mph. The storm is heading WNW in the Atlantic Ocean, and it is still many days away from getting close to Puerto Rico. As of now, the storm is expected to maintain its Category 3 status for a few days, but by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, it is expected to resume strengthening and be a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph with gusts as high as 160 mph.

The overnight model runs of the GFS and Euro show some convergence in eventual track beyond day 5. It is expected to be a very close close, but Hurricane Irma is expected to pass just north of St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. However, it should be noted that the Euro shows more of a direct hit on St. Martin and the Virgin Islands, while the GFS is considerably more north. Yesterday, the Euro was showing a more southerly track towards Key West, but now it has come into agreement with the GFS in having the storm take a turn towards the north as it gets closer to the southeast coast of the United States.

It should be noted that beyond 5 to 7 days, there are generally huge errors in predicted location of hurricanes, so it's much too early to tell if and where Irma will make landfall. At this point though, it would be prudent to keep a close eye on the storm and to start to at least think about making plans for a major hurricane and its associated impacts of extreme coastal flooding, wind damage, extended power outages, and heavy rainfall amounts.

The following two images show the projected location of Hurricane Irma (both showing Category 5 strength) on September 10th according to the GFS model (first image) and Euro model (second image):

Image from tropicaltidbits.com

Image from tropicaltidbits.com


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